- Scorpio #2
- IVth Wall Press
- Written by John Robinson IV
- Illustrated by Marco Zuffranieri
- Colors by Viviana Spinelli
- Letters by LetterSquids
- Cover Art by Scarlett Leigh
- Edited by Andrea Smith
How Shadows Move
The Shim Household has been attacked! And figures dressed in Scorpio garb have stolen the legendary Sword of Shadows. But are they the only people that have been searching for it? What happens when the watchers in the shadows start to move? And what happens when the other Zodiac signs get involved?
It’s been a minute or two since the first issue of Scorpio came out back in September of 2019 (review here), so I went back and took another look before diving into the second. Happily, I still like everything that I liked about it then. The idea is that the signs of the Zodiac grant power to the chosen, and the Shim family have acted as the avatars of Scorpio for generations, with the ancient Sword of Shadows as the symbol and source of that power. Essentially, it’s a story about familial heritage and responsibility… with supernatural elements and martial arts mayhem thrown in for flavor.
John Robinson IV puts together some solid writing in Scorpio. His heroes are flawed, his villains are dark & mysterious, and the people in between run the full range of personalities. In the second issue, the focus pulls away from the Shim siblings- Danny, Marcus, & Amy- and zooms in on their competition. Naomi stands as a prospect to replace Danny Shim as the “adjutant prospect of Scorpio”, and she’s ready to claim what she believes is rightfully hers. Robinson gives her more to work with in her character than a simple quest for power. Likewise with Naomi’s companions, Lucas and Quincy, who are more interesting than they should be for the mercenaries that they at first appear to be.
Where I think Scorpio really works is in the artwork. Marco Zuffranieri & Viviana Spinelli have put together some really solid visuals to help smooth over any rough spots in this action-oriented independent gem. Zuffranieri’s work on character designs runs the range of ordinary folk dressed in ordinary clothes, to Naomi & company who are at one point mistaken for a group of cosplayers decked out for a midnight showing of The Matrix. It’s nothing so showy that it’s distracting from the fact that these are essentially a group of black ops warriors- no bright colored spandex- and looks as much utilitarian as anything. Huge respect to Zuffranieri for not forcing Naomi to wear ridiculously high heels to a fight. For the colors, Spinelli comes up with some pretty slick lighting effects to add highlights to an otherwise flat color palette that seems geared more toward accentuating the details than adding a lot of depth. Altogether it’s a good look that keeps the action moving without a lot of wasted effort.
If there were one thing Scorpio really could have used, it would been another pass or two in the editing process. Granted, I’m not exactly sure if what I was given was a finished copy of the book, or if it’s still got some proofing to go through. What I do know is that there are several typos, mainly in omitted words and grammatical errors that could be avoided in order to lay on the final layer of polish.
I’m always on the lookout for comics leaning into martial arts action for their foundation, and in that regard Scorpio hasn’t let me down. As a small press title, it has to stand alongside books put out by the larger publishers. With its blend of action and the supernatural, as well as some really gorgeous covers, there’s no reason for readers to shy away from this one.
Final Score: 9/13