Out of all the smaller-sized independent publishers out there, Action Lab: Danger Zone is my favorite. I don’t mean to discredit anything they’ve done by saying “smaller-sized”-the re-launch of Zombie Tramp has over 16,000 preorders-I just mean not your Image or Dark Horse. Their knack for great storytelling, memorable characters, over-the-top and off-the-wall antics in books like Ehmm Theory and Bo Plushy Gangsta really caught my attention and made me an instant fan. This first issue of Scum of the Earth wears its “Danger Zone” classification proudly with harsh language and harsher murders. Like other books in the Danger Zone subcategory, it’s a breeze to read but there’s also other more involved things going on that we won’t find out about until we dig a bit deeper into the story. Scum of the Earth starts off with a married couple, True and Laura, at a bar in the south. The bartender lets them know that they’ve had perhaps too much bourbon and nicely asks them to leave. He seems a little apprehensive which I thought was weird since it’s just a couple hanging out having some drinks right? Why would he be nervous around them? Well, if you’ve seen the cover you know why. The bartender just gives them a whole bottle of bourbon and asks them to leave again. Laura suggests leaving a tip, and True takes care of it by blowing the bartender’s brains out the back of his head with a pistol. While walking out of the bar, we get to see the dozen or so people they’ve murdered before the bartender. I couldn’t help but laugh when True said “Got an appetite. Have to stop later. Wouldn’t eat here. Not very clean.”
Laura and True start driving when Laura observes that True is acting like someone is chasing them. True brushes it off, but we see a robot of some sort inspect the bar where True and Laura just murdered all of the customers. It’s clear that whoever or whatever the robot belongs to is trying to track down True and Laura, as they’re described as “target” and “secondary target.” This is all we see of the mysterious robot, but it’s clear that he’s chasing them down. What the motive is, we’re not sure. There’s also a pretty crazy twist at the end which I won’t spoil.
I really enjoyed reading this first issue and can’t wait to read the next. Although not for those with weak stomachs or those who get offended easily, I think anyone who has supported what Action Lab: Danger Zone has been doing will get a real kick out of their time with Scum of the Earth #1.
Writer: Mark Bertolini Artist: Rob Croonenborghs Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/2/14 Format: Print/Digital