Comic Review: North Bend #1 (Scout Comics)

The US is at war. With Russia, and with its own people. So goes the promotional headline; And just when truth and fiction seem to be becoming best buddies, Scout […]

The US is at war. With Russia, and with its own people. So goes the promotional headline; And just when truth and fiction seem to be becoming best buddies, Scout Comics presents North Bend #1.

The CIA recruits Seattle DEA Agent Brendan Kruge to test an experimental mind-control drug on unsuspecting Americans. Oh oh, sounds dramatic!!

And so it is; North Bend, created and written by Ryan Ellsworth, starts out in the grey matter of the interior of a prison. It’s grey, something’s the matter, and Brendan is a little fuzzy on the facts. In fact, it looks like he has brain damage. Did her really kill someone? As the story unfolds, the situation becomes more complicated. Drug testing labs, mind control, criminal activity. The stuff of paranoia and the building blocks of fabulous stories. The dialogue is brisk, there is no chat, no filler. Ellsworth goes straight to the tightly edited plot, all business.

Artist Rob Carey builds his visuals with a similar minimalist feel; Along with colorist Dee Cunniffe, Carey portrays guys in goatees making deals and other guys in suits doing whatever suits them. The greyness, the subdued colours of ambiguity and hidden menace. The fog of complicity, the scent of deception. The figures are well negotiated, the environments are brisk and functional.

North Bend #1 is a wonderful start to a quickly deepening cave of complex drama. One cover is by Rob Carey and a variant by Tula Lotay!

Scout Comics, North Bend #1, $3.99 for 36 pages of content. Assume Teen rating.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!