Ruffians #1 by Brian Canini
Oof, look at all those old timey scans down there. If I had all the free time in the world I would rescan all that nonsense, but thatâ€™s exceedingly unlikely. I always love getting stuff from people whose work I saw years ago, whether or not I liked the old stuff, because it always does me some good to see that people really do stick with this comics thing through thick and thin. This one is an uneven effort, but it has its moments. This is the story of Scar, an assassin thatâ€™s pictured on the cover. Yes, the giant blue bear with the boxing gloves, which is a large part of the problem. Heâ€™s portrayed as a hardcore killer who doesnâ€™t blink to torture a man for information about his murdered friend, butâ€¦ well, just look at him. Terrifying isnâ€™t the first word that comes to mind. The story, if you can ignore the teddy bear aspect, is done really well. Scar finds his friend (another assassin) dead to start the comic, and Brian makes excellent use of flashbacks interspersed with the real time action in a bar, keeping everything moving at a good pace. We learn a bit more of the backstory of his murdered friend, get to see him torturing a guy in a bathroom for information, and get a solid impression of Scar as a tortured soul. The art, though, was the best pleasant surprise of the book. If you look at the other samples they look somewhere between amateurish and so-so, with backgrounds existing only in your mind. This time around there the settings are tremendously detailed, the people look more like actual people and everything is justâ€¦ bigger. This makes you believe that itâ€™s happening in the real world. Until, that is, you get back to the big teddy bear, which is obviously something I wasnâ€™t able to fully get over. Maybe it gets explained to some satisfaction in later issues, and he did send #2 along with this, so I should have a review for that one up in the coming weeks to help clarify. If you can get past the bear and like a (potentially) good mystery/suspense/action story, itâ€™s well worth a look.