Con artists, heists, Vegas and super powers… if you’re not sold on this book yet I will continue. Scam at its core is an Ocean’s 11 style of story with super powers thrown into the mix. Con man books are a growing genre in the world of comics, but whenever that happens sorting the good from the bad becomes harder and harder. Scam is not without its flaws, but it’s very entertaining and has several story elements at play while keeping an ace in the hole.
The story begins two years in the past as a crew of con men are about to dive into a job. It’s a fast job that their newest member has brought to them giving some of the crew cause to worry. The leader of the crew Tru has given the okay on the job due to the size of the payday waiting for them. Unfortunately, they’ve been set up and the new guy has pulled the classic double cross and set the team up to take the fall for the heist he pulled the day before. What he doesn’t know and what’s only subtly revealed to the reader is that this crew possesses some extraordinary powers that help all of them get out of the jam. Flash forward and the team is reconnecting for a revenge job on the bastard that screwed them, but now there are other players in the mix.
There are great moments in the writing and also weak moments and because of that it balances out. The powers are never outright said only alluded to which was very smart and made the story all the more interesting. It keeps the focus off of the powers and on the rest of the plot which is a major plus. On the down side there is a lot of dialog and not all of it is necessary, but at least all of it is realistic sounding. There was one scene in particular with the antagonist of the story is dealing with his security team and for some reason they know about his shady past, but they don’t know who his associates were. Logic dictates that if they figured out his past they would have instantly known his associates as well, but they don’t. Also the entire scene is pretty useless as it doesn’t move the plot forward nor do anything more than establish the character as a total prick.
The art is really good and saves a lot of the story, but creator/artist Mulvey needs to trust his own skills to tell the story visually more. There are some great panels that are blocked by dialog boxes that really didn’t need to be there. Mulvey is a great artist and you can tell that there is great skill within his style. I’ll be very interested in seeing how the art progresses as the series continues, but as it stands his very solid and creates interesting panels to accompany his story. I would like to see more subtleties like the usage of the powers without it being told.
I liked the book a lot, but I don’t know if it’s something that I would say is way above average. It’s a very strong independently produced book that has great potential and is off to a strong start. I definitely prefer it to the other con man books such as Thief of Thieves and others out there, but I don’t know if it has the formula locked down. Mulvey really needs to rein in the dialog and I think once that happens this book will really take off. I still highly encourage you to support the book and check it out for yourself especially if you’ve been disappointed by other matchstick men books of recent memory.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Joe Mulvey
Publisher: Comix Tribe
Release Date: 8/29/12