Ruffians #4

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Ruffians #4 Creator(s): Brian Canini
Publishers: Drunken Cat Comics
From: USA
Price: US $1.50

And so the saga of Scar continues. In this latest instalment we learn more about his friendship with the recently demised, hockey mask wearing, best friend, Black Jack and follow Scar as he starts his term at Stonegate Penitentiary.

The setting may well have changed but the hall mark features of this title remain. For example violence seems to follow Scar everywhere, [or maybe he follows it] either way whilst the violence is less dominant in this issue it is still present. The dialogue is witty and Canini seizes the opportunity to inject humour into the plot. In fact the dialogue is probably better than it has been in previous issues and a real highpoint. The use of flashbacks to piece together Scar’s troubled past and explain his present anger is also, once again, very apparent.

All of these features are handled well, but I am a little concerned that the heavy use of flashback as a narrative technique is starting to impede the forward progression of plot.

The prison scene with the ‘new kid’ having to establish his place in the pecking order is a little clichéd, probably quite factual but it has been done many times before. Canini gets away with it though, mainly because after four editions we are starting to identify with Scar and appreciate the complexities of his personality.

Canini does effectively build tension in this instalment and the ending does leave us genuinely concerned for Scar. But this again is something that is starting to concern me, at 15 pages the comic is just starting to really build up speed when it ends, coupled with the fact that there has to be some recapping of previous plot and what we are left with is a tale that gets off the ground and seems destined to soar only to run out of fuel and have to crash land.

The narrative really needs to kick along and it may take a bumper issue to do it, how about a 30 pager now that would give us something to really get our teeth into.

My previous comments regarding page layout still stand and the pages still have a crowded feel about them.

This is a worthy title but it needs room to breath.

In a Word: Imprisoned.

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