Battle Scars #1
Story by Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn, and Matt Fraction
Script by Chris Yost
Art by Scott Eaton, Andrew Hennessy, and Paul Mounts
The short of it:
Marcus Johnson is a soldier in Afghanistan when the Fear breaks out, and he’s a bad ass that is among the best of his unit. They fight without the knowledge of what’s happening at home, but he is sent home for his mothers funeral. He goes to her house and is told she was killed in a Fear riot, but he finds shell casings and is attacked before he can make sense of it. He beats up the normal thugs before Taskmaster shoots him with an arrow, which leads to Captain America showing up with a bunch of black helicpoters. Oh, and a few points in the issue feature people ominously talking about how important Marcus is, but make little attempt to allude to why. Something spy related? Is he a natural super soldier? Who knows?
What I liked:
- I don’t like war books, but I liked the handling of Afghanistan in war time during the events of Fear Itself. It didn’t feel like a super hero thing, and that made it work. The different tone, and the fact that we were seeing a battle in the Marvel Universe fought in a very real world way really set it apart.
- Marcus Johnson isn’t the most interesting character in the world, but for a regular guy thrown into a crazy situation the narration feels right. I mean, sure, he’s a highly trained soldier, but he feels human. Always a good touch.
- Marcus is also a tremendous badass. I already acknowledged the highly trained soldier bit, but it gets taken to another level. He fights Taskmaster. With an arrow in his shoulder.
- Scott Eaton was a great choice to draw this book, because it looks great. Seriously, the book has everything from a warzone, to a funeral, to a brawl, to a brawl with a costume, and it all looks great.
What I didn’t like:
- I know it’s only one issue, but Marcus is just a regular soldier that is all of the sudden super important and I don’t care. Maybe some sort of hint about what it is would have helped, but as it stands there isn’t a hook to the character yet.
- So Taskmaster is a bad guy again? I knew he would most like pop up as one, but I really wish he’d be used as something other than a gun for hire. Sure, his presence tells you something is a big deal, but in the first issue it feels more like he’s there to lose.
- I can’t fully knock this book for using the cliffhanger as a hook because I’d be a hypocrite, but this book REALLY crutches on it.
- There was story, but nothing happened that screamed to me that I should buy the next issue of this. I mean, sure, Captain America vs Taskmaster is always nice, but what purpose does that serve here?
When Brightest Day and Generation Lost hit we had one launch with a few strong issues before turning into a jumbled mess of varying quality, and one start slow and build up into something great. Marvel has been following pretty strong to that, so hey, maybe this book will turn into Generation Lost, but one issue in and I’m not sold on coming back in two weeks. Nothing really happens here, and as evidenced by my thoughts on Barry Allen, I don’t take to characters by being told that they matter. Now, one issue, obviously there’s still time for him to become more important, or gain a purpose, but one issue in and he’s just another random guy. The cliffhanger is really all that is there to try and draw the reader back for the next issue, because without it I doubt I’d even consider it.
Tags: Battle Scars, chris yost, Cullen Bunn, Fear Itself, Marvel Comics, matt fraction, Reviews, Shattered Heroes