From Spencer and Locke to last year’s O.Z. David Pepose is a writer who is developing a really eclectic bibliography. This week he brings us Scout’s Honor, a post-apocalyptic world based on the teachings of a Scout group. But can this new title from Aftershock Comics gain the merit badges it needs to survive in comic shops?
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Luca Casalanguida (Artist), Matt Milla (Colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterers)
Price: $4.99/£3.99 from ComiXology
Scout’s Honor tells the story of Kit, a Ranger Scout who proudly serves in what was once a young person’s survivalist group but now, hundreds of years later occupies a cult-like status in the post-apocalyptic remnants of the world. However, Kit hides a secret from the brotherhood and Scoutmaster, which fly in the face of its seven lawsz may result in an expulsion if discovered. Of course, this is nothing compared to the secret Kit discovers about the origins of the Ranger Scouts, one which could shake Kit’s world to its very core.
David Pepose has written a captivating and seriously enthralling story here, one which I really struggled to turn away from. The world inwhich he has created feels incredibly rich and lived in. The dystopian vibe emanates from every scene and really informs the characters actions. While skillfully imbuing a subtle hint of tyranny within the narrative, as it feels like there is more going on than meets the eye.
As with a lot of debut issues, it suffer from information overload, but Pepose wonderfully weaves this knowledge into the story, providing exposition in a truly engaging manner. While the range of characters we meet all offer some intrigue from their (brief) appearances, it is Kit who comes across as the main draw. With an impressively conflicted portrayal as the young Ranger Scout who struggles between loyalty to the organisation and maintaining a huge secret. The only real problem with all of this is having to wait another 30 days to find some answers to all these questions!
Meanwhile, Luca Casalanguida offers up some fantastic art with a style which has some real grit to it in the vein of Matteo Scalara and David Aja. Casalanguida really sells the world of Scout’s Honor, with a rustic, living off the land vibe, while also showing a very realistic post-apocalyptic environment. This seems to ensure the visuals are fitting for the story Pepose is telling and that the Ranger Scouts aren’t just clean cut cliches.
This is helped by Matt Milla’s colours, which look very earthy and natural and help ground the visuals into that sense of realism. In fact, only the early scene with the ‘gamma bear’ feels unrealistic in this whole issue but Casalanguida and Milla use this moment of being ‘let off the leash’ to create something that inhabits the dangers of this new world to an impressive effect.
Scout’s Honor makes a superb start out of the gate as Pepose, Casalanguida and co. Have produced an engrossing and visually stunning read. While this first issue will leave you with plenty more questions than answers, it will also leave you hooked on it’s complexity and keen to come back for more.