The Scorpion Volume 5 – In The Name Of The Father
By Stephen Desberg and Enrico Marini
The lights of Rome have dimmed. When the Scorpion and his friends get back to the Holy See, it is a place of fear and death they find, a city cowering under Trebaldi’s boot. Their only chance to destroy the Pope’s power is to heed Rochnan’s last words and look into the past of the Scorpion’s mother. Dodging warrior-monks and Inquisitors, they begin to unravel a story that could yield some answers too horrible to contemplate…
Right, over four volumes of Cinebook’s premiere swashbuckler I’d rather settled into the rhythm of The Scorpion. Something classically good, a pulp fiction historical romp, Bond in highwayman’s clothes, Robin Hood in Rome, that sort of thing.
We’re in Renaisance era Rome, surrounded by mysterious historical stuff, sultry women, fights, swords, a dedicated baddie worthy of boos and hisses. I liked it. Sort of. Volume One thrilled, Volume two lulled. Volume three had me thrilled again, and Volume 4 kept that up…
“…put it in a single book, just 46 pages long, and it does rather satisfy, albeit in a read, enjoy, forget, type of way. Everything’s done rather well – the action races along, the drama sort of works, the characters are all suitably sexy and mysterious (good guys), nefarious and boo-hiss evil (bad guys) or sultry, mysterious and prone to double crossing (every woman that isn’t a nun).”
But Volume 5 has another lull in it. And worst of all I find myself sitting here a little nonplussed by the whole thing, effectively simply a 40+ pager of some action we’ve already seen plenty of, and a twist that simply didn’t surprise at all.
Here we have the swashbuckling Scorpion – he’s the dashing bit of phwoar on the cover (great image, really stylish stuff) – returning to Rome, a Rome he barely recognises, trampled and transformed in new Pope Trebaldi’s image. Like I said, if Scorpion is our dashing, slightly dangerous, sultry looking hero, Pope Trebaldi is designed to be the epitome of the bad guy.
This volume is all about getting that story moving on, and the clumsy reveal of the big secret, a revelation that wont be too surprising for those reading so far, simply seems a little rushed, there simply to provide added conflict. Shame.
This is album 5, there’s at least 9 albums in the series, and I just hope this is merely the bit where Desberg decided he had to slow it all down a little, get the big sweeping emotion stuff out of the way… Scorpion returning to his Rome, seeing it downtrodden and abused under a vile Pope, rather clumsily compared with The Scorpions mother and her treatment at the hands of the church. You don’t mean to tell us that Scorpion can only truly love two women? Oh, okay, that is the idea. And it’s all laid on a bit thick here.
I’m certainly not saying it’s a waste of your time, as like any of these multi-parters, The Scorpion is a cumulation of the enjoyment of the saga so far, and although this sees it drop a little in the enjoyment, there’s still a lot of swash, a lot of buckle to be had across the seires. And fingers crossed, it will be back to its swashbucklig best next volume, as Scorpion no doubt tries to extract his revenge.
And whilst we’re finding silver linings in the cloud, Marini’s art makes even the slowest, most pointless of Desberg’s scenes pop, with a beautiful colour palette of dark blue-grey evenings leading to vibrant, vivid sunsets and rises.
So maybe not the best place to jump onboard. But part five of a [no idea how many this runs to] series is no place to jump in anytime. As is, we’ll let this one go, as see where Volume 6 takes us soon.