The opening issue of John Ward’s Scratcher title was a BIG favourite of mine last year and it eased into my highlights of 2017 as a result……so I jumped at the chance to get hold of the second issue to see how things were going to progress.
The first issue introduced us to tattoo artist Dee and started to plant the idea that her self-styled body art had much more impact than just being decorative. The trauma from helping that first customer had barely started to settle in before she hit the road to Vegas to help another previous customer…..which is where we find her now. Her new life purpose seems to have evolved rapidly and as she struggles to make sense of it all she’s firmly focused on trying to help save as many people as she can.
The mystery surrounding her tattoos is beginning to have bigger & bigger consequences though and with Jerry the priest now starting to display the same uncontrollable bouts of anger & violence, her involvement has grabbed the attention of some other parties. A scientist catches up with her and lets her know his theory while his mobile lab in a VW van is just the right place for him to gain her trust…….and the quest to find Jerry is soon a two-person task.
The sketchy details around how the tattoos are having the impact they are ends up being the real hook for this story……and John knows that. He weaves a subtle plot out in front of Dee & us the reader and as the pieces started to come together after two issues I’m still as much in the dark as Dee but still dedicated to the same cause.
Juan Romera’s art has a great sense of detail yet again and the layouts keep an edge-of-the-seat quality to the whole issue. They’re joined by Eric Grissom again and he does a great job with the lettering as he keeps the narrative sections under control and on some of the more quiet sections he keeps a well-placed sound-effect in there to keep the momentum going strong.
Scratcher is a great title to get lost in and its unconventional lead is so strong that it’s hard not to fall in love with her and the response she has to her current predicament. The creative team involved are all hitting their stride at the same time so the groundwork from that first issue leads into this glorious second issue and I can’t wait to see the next issues to see where Dee takes us next.