Promising Start for Scarlett: Single Minded for June 5, 2024

 It's been awhile, but welcome back to one of our oldest features, Single Minded! Today I'll have a few words for you on comics that came out on June 5, 2024. That seems like it was only yesterday! Oh wait, it was only yesterday!

It goes without saying these aren't the only books I read this week, but they are the ones I most wanted to talk about. So what registered on my radar? Let's find out...


Scarlett #1
Written by Kelly Thompson
Line Art by Marco Ferrari
Color Art by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Russ Wooten
Published by Skybound/Image

Even when she has handlers, no one tell Scarlett what to do! After a mission goes off-book quickly due to circumstances on the ground, our heroine has an opportunity to reconnect with an old friend, but the cost might just be her life in this first issue re-imagining by Kelly Thompson and company.

As most of you interested enough to click on this know, Skybound got the rights to the Joe franchise and is slowly building up a new world for them while also continuing the work of the original Marvel line, just like IDW did. Thompson is tapped here for Scarlett, being asked to walk a fine line between something new and something recognizable. I've not read all the comics, so it's hard for me to judge the quality of that part of things, but on its own, this works quite well. Scarlett comes off like a James Bond type (in a good way) in terms of being willing to "break" the rules set for her to do the right thing. We also get a nice look at her private life, too, which was cool. 

Ferrari's line art works best in the action sequences, doing a great job of keeping the reader's eye engaged and moving across the page and providing context and scene-setting, though I wish the backgrounds didn't alternate between being extremely detailed (awesome) and basically non-existent (not awesome). I really liked this set up page, as we quickly see the wide range of Scarlett's abilities:

This is a great sequence, one of several that I loved in the book. It's a great use of framing to get across a lot of information without either an info dump of text or taking up too many pages at once. And again, the details here (the shadow in the water, the craggy point, the small rocks in the cave) really make this page sing, all while Loughridge gives us a feeling of being in the water with his use of turquoise as the primary color for the entire sequence, right up to Scarlett's dress. Loughridge will do similar things on other pages, but it would give away too much - especially the final page reveal - to discuss that in too much depth here.

Scarlett is looking like a book where knowing the Joe history well will really make it sing, but being a casual fan is okay, too, because Thompson and company are putting together a spy story that uses the Joe universe to enhance an already cool plot, not as the sole purpose of the comic. I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes.


Profane #1
Written by Peter Milligan
Line Art by Raul Fernandez
Color Art by Giada Marchisio
Letters by Jeff Eckleberry
Published by Boom! Studios

A hard-boiled detective talking in cliches investigates a murder that might just lead to his literal undoing in a really profoundly strange first issue.

I'm not sure what to make of this book yet, to be honest, but I included it here because the premise is either going to lead to an amazing, trippy, comic or Milligan is going to trip over his own ambitions and the comic is going to go down in flames. I don't know which yet, but the process of getting there will be fascinating to watch.

I've been reading Milligan's work for many years now, so I knew the hyper-cliche monologue and dialogue going on overtop of Fernandez' art had to be on purpose, and it definitely is. Will Profane, our hero, not only walks and talks like a stock pulp character, he uses pulp books to help him on his cases. But what Will doesn't know is that there's a reason he's the way he is, and neither does the reader until the final page reveal, so if you peruse this and are turned off by the dialogue, I'd encourage you to take it to the end and see if the premise is for you.

Fernandez's line art has a classic Vertigo feel to it, which makes sense for a Milligan book and especially this one. There's a lot of straight, angled lines and the characters are a little on the stiff side as a result, though he does like to pull them off-kilter, to fit the atmosphere. 

If you like comics that play with narrative ideas and the nature of fiction, then this will intrigue you, as it did me. But if you want a straight-up PI book, Profane isn't going to do the trick. This is more in the vein of Grant Morrison than Ed Brubaker. I'm in to see where Milligan goes with the idea.