COMIC REVIEW: Scam, Issues 1-3 of 4

It must be something that goes through every writer’s head at some point in time: you have come up with a new and interesting concept, and then someone comes up with something very similar. Comixtribe’s Joe Mulvey must have felt that when he was putting his finishing touches to his debut comic Scam (about a set of super-powered con men), when Mark Millar released Supercrooks. Yet Mulvey’s Scam proves that there is more than enough room for two crews in town. Although there are a few hiccups, it is still a rather confident debut.

 

Comixtribe is an up-and-coming company that I have known about for some time. I have read Lees’ and Rector’s first three issues of The Standard through picking it up from cons and the like and was very impressed by it. Because of The Standard, I wanted to check out The Red Ten and again, I enjoyed it immensely. Scam continues this trend with a very strong, tight script. The concept is similar to Millar’s Supercrooks: Ocean’s Eleven meets X-Men, yet it is far superior. The story follows a superpowered crew who, after a two year hiatus, decide to get revenge on one of their former enemies. But things are never as easy as they seem.

There is a real energy in the opening scene of the book that takes us through the first three issues of this comic. the Scam characters are fleshed out well. There are a wide variety, and yet Mulvey does a pretty good job at portraying them as three dimensional. Crosswords is a very distinct villain who works well in this universe. Further, there is a nice crossover where we see The Oxymoron (villain from The Red Ten) appear as a background for a pinball machine. This made me wonder whether Comixtribe was trying to do something even bigger and make their three books interconnected as a shared universe. Only time will tell.

Mulvey’s arwork is top notch, progressing with style in every issue. Some of the action scenes are just phenomenal with so much intensity and genius brought in. For example Tru, the main character, walking through an airport is a scene that is filled with shocks, twists and a lot of heart pumping action. The colours pop nicely, complimenting Mulvey’s artwork.

The reader is taken on a rollercoaster ride where they truly do not realise what is coming next. This is both to Mulvey’s credit and his downfall. In Issue One this works perfectly: it is a topsy-turvy ride that leaves you desperate to find out more. This continues in Issue Two, yet unfortunately it seems that the plot strays from the formula we were told to expect as we delve further into the mystery as to how the crew got their powers. I would have personally preferred the emphasis to have stayed on the actual crime they were trying to commit vis-a-vis Ocean’s Eleven, that Mulvey used as an influence. I personally don’t think we need to find out about how these people got their powers. As a character Doc states about his crew: they didn’t care they just wanted to do jobs and make money. At the end of the day that is the crux of what the reader wanted to see. This slight detour in story still works and if it had not been promised to be slightly different this would not be a problem as the story itself is very compelling. It is just a shame that in the first three issues we don’t get as much planning the heist and the actual crime than I would have liked to have seen. Further, the one liners are sharp, snappy and often very funny. In Issue One, they seem to come slightly too often but by the time we get to Issue Two Mulvey seems to have fixed this.

All in all Scam is an incredibly enjoyable comic. It diverts from where the reader might have expected it to go, but that does not stop the story working. The art compliments the words well, revealing Mulvey to be a talent to keep an eye on. A highly accomplished debut.

If you want to find out more about Comixtribe click here.

If you want to find out more about Scam and Mulvey click here.

 

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Halsall

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