If you asked me I could do with more fantasy comics even when it seems like there’s a lot already out there. Enter Scales & Scoundrels, a new series that introduces a mysterious woman who bands together with strangers to make for a strange looting party indeed. The second issue kicks off setting up the dungeon they’ll be taking on, but can they even make it inside?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Love and righteousness keep the biggest hearts in Redlands, despite the crime rate. But the biggest hearts are within the biggest beasts, and no animal or serial killer is safe if they dare to cross them.
Why does this matter?
The first issue of Scales & Scoundrels set up its lead character well with a mysterious past and a unique personality. There’s also a visual style by Galaad that’s somewhat cartoony, but infectiously charming. So far monsters and dragons are at a bare minimum so look for more of that soon!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Luvander continues to be a fun and outspoken protagonist who might be a bit of a bastard, but she manages to keep things interesting. This time she’s joining forces with these characters in part to get a free meal, but after knocking heads last issue trouble is soon to come back and bite her in the butt. Series writer Sebastian Girner spends most of this issue developing the characters and in particular the dynamic between Luvander and the prince. The prince is instantly likeable as he’s incredibly genuine and nice. He’s somewhat of an opposite of Luvander, but Girner does well to capture his seeing a goodness in Luvander. This extends to the dwarf character who the prince shows empathy towards even when she’s not being very helpful.
That’s not to say this issue lacks action, but it does spend the majority of its pages tossing dialogue back and forth. The moment of conflict sets in motion a fun all black two page layout which uses dialogue well and it’s a highlight of the issue.
Galaad continues to draw in a unique style that makes this book feel fresh and new. The characters are somewhat cartoony, but with an edge too. The character designs defy expectations which helps separate this from other fantasy stories. The lead is almost in a court jester costume with pants and long sleeves, the dwarf in a cutoff skirt, and the prince in a somewhat African looking garb. It’s an eclectic crew with eclectic personalities and Galaad shows this visually.
A camp fire and a story. All you need.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The story isn’t quite getting off the ground as fast as one might like. The character writing is strong, but let’s get the high fantasy angle going already! The characters are literally sitting inches from their quest and instead decide to rest. It gives this issue a feeling as if it’s biding its time. The final page promises some high fantasy in a dungeon setting, but if you were to read this issue the only fantasy element to speak of is the fact that one of the characters happens to be a dwarf.
Is It Good?
The second issue stretches its legs developing its characters, but where is the fantasy already!? That said, the character writing is on point with excellent dialogue and an art style worth noting.