Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review: Warren Ellis Double Feature

 ScarsScars by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last night I went on a bit of a Warren Ellis adventure. I watched his documentary Captured Ghosts which delved into his childhood, skirted into his teen years in which he was barely conscious, then talks about his career as a writer and patron saint of the Internet. It would make a good double feature with the Harlan Ellison doc, Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

I'm more generous about calling myself a fan of a writer versus a fan of an actor or director, artist or musician because I can gobble up an album in 20-30 minutes, I can watch a movie in 90, I can watch two in about three hours. It's quicker for me to judge multiple portions of works of art or film of music than it is for comics or novels. If I like one book out of 12 written by someone, I call myself a fan until proven otherwise.

All I've ever read of Warren Ellis' work was Transmetropolitan and I adore it, so I call myself a fan. I've never read The Authority or StormWatch or anything else, but I do follow his Twitter and blog and I have several of his works on my To Read list.

Then, the documentary brought up Scars and I hunted it down.

Scars is a well constructed, tightly contained story about a cop hunting down a child murderer. It's a case of true horror, gruesome and terrible but unlike the shock-for-shock's-sake mess that is Garth Ennis' CROSSED or The Walking Dead, it's the realism that makes it terrifying. Sick bastards like this exist, will always exist and we never know who or where until it's far, far too late.

The rest of this will contain spoilers. You've been warned!

I think what I liked the most is that the story is so very contained and nothing is over-explained. We're left to assume that the drive by that left Cain a broken man was due to him being a detective, but it's never spelled out for us. We're not sure if Cain was the intended target, or if the person caught in the path of the bullet was.

The ending is left up to interpretation, though in my opinion it's quite obvious that Cain's partner shot him, otherwise we would have gone through the fallout.

I wish it was longer than six issues, I feel some things happened too fast and Cain could and should have fallen even farther. But over-all, a very good story that I recommend, if you have the stomach for it.

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