Battle Scars continues to be a surprise hit as Staff Sargent Marcus Johnson attempts to find out why he’s suddenly on everyone’s “to kill” list. He’s returned from over seas after the events of Fear Itself to find his mother assassinated by Russian hitmen. Then he’s attacked by Taskmaster, rescued by Captain America, and then taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. After escaping from them, he’s on the run and on the hunt for Taskmaster to get some answers. To make matters worse, Deadpool is determined to kill Marcus, as well.
I can’t remember when a brand new, non super-powered character was introduced in the Marvel Universe and was the focus in a title that was actually good. A huge part of what is making the book a success, at least in my eyes, is that Johnson’s humanity is at the forefront of the story. From his experiences during Fear Itself to coming home to his mother’s brutal death and his near breakdown in this issue, he’s developing into a solid character. Maybe because we’re also at the midpoint in the mini-series the story is starting to pick up and several layers have been introduced. Most importantly, the added mystery about who Johnson’s father could be along with the connection to Taskmaster. I’ll admit that I was worried that Deadpool was going to be in this issue, but his appearance was pretty subtle. He didn’t overshadow Johnson, and Yost never lost focus of what or who the issue is about here.
Scot Eaton has been impressing me since Doomwar, and his artwork in this series has been even better than that. Everything plays out quite well in terms of the pacing and panel layouts. We get quite a few action scenes, but it’s the calmer moments that stand out during the story. The colors of Paul Mounts also helps to bring the action and visual storytelling to another level.
So far, Battle Scars has been a very bright light to come out of the fiasco that was Fear Itself. The creative team is developing quite the story here, as we’ve got a regular guy trying to make sense of this new world he’s been thrown into. So even if you didn’t read one issue of Fear Itself, you definitely need to be reading Battle Scars!