THOUGHT BUBBLE 2019!
Writer-artist Aaron Losty and letterer Becca Carey’s The Last Scarecrow is an expectation-defying one-shot. Initially presenting itself as a tale of ongoing gang warfare it gradually evolves into something far more reflective and philosophical. While it may on a first glance appear to be a standard genre comics dystopian offering do not let that put you off. Because this is a far more layered and pensive piece of storytelling.
Based in the jungle ruins where they bury their dead and that serve as a temporary headquarters, The Stabs are awaiting an attack by their gangland rivals The New Saints as they wrest for superiority of the local city. As the oppressive heat begins to affect their forces, General Izzo becomes more remote and distant from his troops, seemingly descending into a madness of his own making.
With tension mounting and the seemingly neverending wait for the attack proving interminable, dissent begins to grow among The Stabs. It’s up to the commander Nix to keep everything together as the anticipation grows and harsh truths come to the fore…
The atmosphere of Losty’s claustrophobic story is accentuated by his moody colouring that reflects the feeling of overbearing heat and paranoia that is slowly overtaking the group. His disproportioned characters with their slightly grotesque and exaggerated physiques also give the story a sense of something otherworldly that makes the predicament of the cast all the more desperate as events progress. Becca Carey’s lettering meanwhile emphasises, through placement of both dialogue and the more detached narration, the differing perspectives of the story from the immediacy of the character interactions to the more reflective commentary on the situation.
A tale that encompasses ideas of purpose, family, loyalty and despair, The Last Scarecrow is a very different beast than its synopsis may indicate, turning that initial theme of gang warfare on its head to present a far more human and focused drama. If you’re looking for self-contained shorter form work at Thought Bubble that is less obvious in its genre leanings then The Last Scarecrow is well worth a look.
Aaron Losty (W/A/C) Becca Carey (L)
Review by Andy Oliver
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