John Ward & Juan Romera bring us the first issue of their new series Scratcher that brings a supernatural edge to the world of tattoo’s.
Opening with tattoo artist Dee in the midst of a nightmare that shatters her sleep and brings her crashing into the real world which offers some relief at first but that’s just the beginning of the real nightmare for her. Running through her morning routine brings her to work and a gruesome discovery sees Sarah, one of her recent clients, confront her about the effects her newest tattoo is having on her.
It’s a downward spiral from there as Dee gets dragged into a dark world where the regular 9 to 5 isn’t an option and chaos is the order of the day for her. The police are involved as Sarah is taken into custody as Dee’s desperate scramble to check on all her recent clients ensues and shaving her hair off gives her a new bad ass look to face the life she finds herself in now. It’s got a cracking pace form the beginning as John’s script keeps the tension high & the mystery intact from the first page which is matched by Juan’s glorious art that sees his grey tones emphasise an impressive world from a creative team that’s in-sync.
That creative combination makes this opening issue a blend of Walking Dead & The Illustrated Man although it’s crammed full of it’s own ideas, it’s own direction and more importantly a sense of purpose from a strong female lead that’s both believable and intriguing. This leaves Scratcher #1 slipping into the ‘hidden gem’ category of the small press scene and here’s hoping it gets more attention and more issues soon.