REVIEW: Scout’s Honor #1 Is Perfectly Unsettling

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Welcome to the Scout’s Honor Wasteland

Scout’s Honor follows Kit, a ranger scout, almost three hundred years after the apocalypse. It is written by David Pepose, art by Luca Casalanguida, colors by Matt Milla, and with lettering by Carlos M. Mangual.

Scout's Honor is perfectly unsettling
Scout’s Honor #1 – Cover couresy of Aftershock

Scout’s Honor Story Review

2020 seemed like it was going to be the end of the world with global catastrophes and everyone seemingly going mad. Pepose clearly drew on this to create the world of Scout’s Honor. The story begins with a group emerging from a bunker around twenty-six years after the world ended in nuclear war. The world is broken beyond comprehension, but the survivor’s leader seems to be unworried. They have the manual to the apocalypse, a Ranger Scout handbook.

The story then jumps another two hundred and sixty years into the future to meet our protagonist Kit. The world has changed little, broken buildings and garbage everywhere but now the Ranger Scouts are leading the survivors. Kit and two fellow scouts are investigating a creature called a Gamma Boar when it attacks out of nowhere leading to a dynamic fight that perfectly acts as an introduction to this brand-new world.

Dez, another ranger scout, tells Kit that they must leave a team member behind as one of the new society rules is to have no burdens. Pepose uses this little mention to lead the reader into the world he has created. As a former Boy Scout, the Ranger Scouts are a twisted version that Pepose builds into the new dystopian leaders.

To fight the Gamma Boar Dez and Kit use their training through “merit badges” but these are unlike anything that a Boy Scout would learn from explosives to tactical driving. Kit kills the boar before they return home.

The next segment is where Pepose shines in world building, and the clear parallels between Ranger Scouts and cults. The Ranger Scouts follow a leader who clearly resembles Jesus in looks but in character is more like a cult-like leader. The leadership title is appropriately named Scout Master but instead of merely giving merit badges he is the leader of their society. The Scout Master lays out all the rules of this new society in a way that sends a shiver down the audience’s spine.

All the boys in the audience begin chanting the rules in a way that blends the religious aspects of a cult with the hyper nationalism of Nazism. And the evil elements shine through with the dark reflection of the elements of Boy Scouts like kindness, loyalty and brotherhood. Brotherhood becomes misogyny, loyalty become a blind oath and kindness becomes lack of mercy.

One of these elements becomes deadly when a deep secret of Kit’s is revealed. Kit comes home after the ceremony to getting into an argument with their father over the fact that Kit put themself in the limelight with saving Dez from the Gamma Boar. The fear comes from the misogyny of the Ranger Scouts because Kit is revealed to be female.

This reveal is one of the most brilliant points Pepose creates that adds a different perspective to the problems of this society. A lens that shows the issues with being a different gender in this dystopia helps develop the world in a different way than it would have naturally grown if Kit had been a male in this masculine focused society.

Scout’s Honor Art

Casalanguida complements the stark ideas of Pepose with art that is perfectly unsettling. The first page of Scout’s Honor shows an American flag flying tattered in the wind against a haunting wasteland, setting the tone in just a few panels. The color palate that Casalanguida selected ups the uneasiness with every panel. Rather than vibrant colors, a more neutral selection washes the landscape in a sandy tone that shows life here is gone.

The muted colors are a perfect backdrop for moments of action, like when a monstrous boar attacks. The boar’s glowing eyes and the bright yellow car it chases are perfect contrasts to the rest of the world. Characters are also drawn in ways that pair well with the story. Doctor Jefferson Hancock, the historical leader of this group, is personified in a statue that reminds one of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.

The biblical references don’t end there, the Scoutmaster, who is pastor and leader all rolled into one, is clearly drawn to resemble westernised versions of Jesus. A white man with a beard and long dark hair all adorned in white. I cannot wait to see what challenges Pepose send Casalanguida’s way as the art is stellar so far and will only continue to amaze.

Scout’s Honor #1 Conclusion

I’ve read many of Pepose’s other books and Scout’s Honor is another home run in a career of many. Rather than your run of the mill apocalypse Scout’s Honor is something else entirely. Pepose leaves the reader wanting more with a twist dating back to the origins of the Ranger Scouts.

With art unlike anything else on the shelf and a completely unique story this is one that I will keep reading all the way through.

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