Scratcher from John Ward seems to make a regular appearance in my Comic a Day in May feature so it seems fitting that I take a look at the third & penultimate issue for 2019.
Tattoo artist Dee has already been introduced to us and along with the discovery that her clients are being possessed by something in the ink she’s used to create their tattoo’s…..it was clear that this title had something different to offer from the beginning. We pick-up with Dee on her travels again as she finds herself in another tight situation in Texas. Cue a scramble to escape and the appearance of a recent ally in the growing war she has to save her former clients from a life of uncontrolled blood lust.
The risky situations are very real though and as her latest hospital visit brings with it the uneasy sense that the shadows are closing in on her she seems even more determined to get on with the task in hand…..cue an escape from hospital & charging into another fight that sees the odds swing in favour of her demonic foes and it’s no wonder we never really know if she’ll survive the current issue we’re reading.
The risks Dee takes are something John seems to be thriving on as he pushes his strong lead further & further with each issue but that level of testing just makes this one of the most intriguing reads out there. In fact, I think this feels like one of those titles that you get to the end and feel the weight of loss that you have to wait for the next issue……it’s THAT good.
The artwork from Juan Romera is as solid as it was in those opening issues but the subtle levels of detail he’s adding as the story progresses is helping to continue a consistently upward trend in how enjoyable this story has become. The lettering by John Grissom polishes off another issue that’s packed with dialogue & narrative and he keeps things under control as the story unfolds.
Three issues in and this feels like it’s one that should be on people’s pull lists and with its strange mix of The Walking Dead, The Illustrated Man and maybe even The LIttle Hobo now that Dee is on the road, it’s a combination that has all the best parts of those recognizable elements. An engaging premise played out in a glorious mix of story-telling & art means that Scratcher is a must-read title for me and while it may have started in that “hidden gem” category……….it’s shrugged off that “hidden” tag into 100% gem. Great read!
Head over to John’s Arbutus Films website & Twitter page for news on his comic projects and check out Comixology to get hold of the first three issues of Scratcher.