Imagine what the world would be like if you had the power to eliminate your enemies with a handful of pocket change. Now, continue to imagine using that change to buy a robotic assassin, that will kill your enemies for you and self destruct once the target has been eliminated. Pretty rad, eh? Enter into the world of Scud: The Disposable Assassin! Created by Rob Scarab and printed by Image Comics, this dynamic series explores the not-so-disposable life of Scud: Heart Breaker Series model 1373. After being purchased, Scud is sent to end the life of a monster named Jeff. During one of his encounters with Jeff, Scud reads the disclaimer on his back from a bathroom mirror, and discovers for the first time that he will self-destruct upon termination of his target. Nope. No way. Nuh uh. Scud isn’t having any of this! So he does the next best thing to killing Jeff: he shoots off her (yes, Jeff is a “female”) arms and legs, and keeps Jeff stabilized in a hospital. This little technicality allows Scud to keep living, so he freelances his services for money to keep Jeff alive, but immobile. And so begins the colorful life of a disposable robot assassin.
For such a short series that only spans 25 issues, Rob Schrab does a great job at grabbing your attention with his comic. The drawing style utilized by Schrab is somewhat a combination of some of the comics we’ve seen in class, like Gary Panter, Charles Burns, and Kaz. The different thicknesses of brush stokes give some depth to most of the over-dramatic action sequences, and the halftone shading is reminiscent of older comics found in newspapers. The panel structure also tries to break away from the normal grid setting, with lots of inset panels and jagged gutters that aren’t always white. Arrows help direct some of the reading, but only to enforce the direction the action is taking place. This edginess adds more nature to the dystopian society the story takes place in, and also helps give a feel for the grittiness and extremely violent (but often hilariously overdone) action sequences.
Another thing that Schrab does well with Scud is his play on satire. The way he portrays Scud’s anti-hero personality is drawn from a lot of pop culture media, including small but noticeable references from Ren and Stimpy, Star Wars, The Terminator, and Die Hard. The over-the-top action sequences show just how acrobatic a robotic assassin can be, while still being able to shoot two guns at the same time from both hands. Most of the dialogue between characters is short, and at sometimes, even random, which adds to the reader’s amusement. Rob also parodies the sound effects made throughout the comic. Where Batmain failed to realize the potential of these action sounds, Schrab makes good use of the action by using words like SMACKARIMBA, FA-SMEK and WANG-CHUNG. Just another one of the smaller details that make this comic hilariously extraordinary.
If you feel like having a good laugh at every page, but appreciate the over-the-top action and dialogue, Scud is definitely one of the funnier comics to pick up. The series is compiled into a collection called Scud: The Whole Shebang – Beginning, Middle, and End, and comes in hard or paperback covers. Please let me know if you’ve read the comic. I’d like to hear what you have to say, so pick up the book find out why it’s cool to be a robot!
by Dave Griffiths