Review - Scam #3

It's not often that a crossword threatens to kill you. Sure, it can really piss you off and make you want to kill someone else (damn you Will Shortz!), but they're not meant to push you to that point. Unless you're a villain with a penchant for torture and a power drill. Then, crosswords become an entirely different beast. Crossword in Scam #3 from ComixTribe is such a beast.

The issue is written and illustrated by Joe Mulvey, colored by Chris Sotomayor and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Tru's team is determined to keep their plan alive. Hack is laid up in bed. Doc is still being tortured. Pint is knocking out comic book retailers in a bar. And Tru is faced with the potential of a new offer; a new offer with a new, bigger payout. Everything starts to come to a head in the third issue, punctuated by a chilling message from Crosswords, featuring blood, rope and a skyrise.

Third issues in five-issues miniseries are typically the slowest issues. There's not really much put in storywise considering it's viewed as low point of a story before the ramp up to the climax. Mulvey actually keeps the pace moving along in the third issue, throwing in a ton of story. Tru and Pint sort of get top billing, with both showcasing some of their personalities in their actions. All the characters working together is what makes the book work and there's plenty of that, with Mulvey infusing them with relationships that feel strong.

Tru is always looking for the better score. His encounter with Carlyle is meant to be eye-opening for him, as Carlyle wants to warn Tru that his decisions will lead to a hollow existence. Tru has been the main character throughout, but he doesn't have to carry the third issue. Mulvey relies on other characters, such as Pint, to carry the action. And Pint goes on an alcohol-fueled brawl that definitely fulfills the action requirement for the third issue.

Mulvey has a handle on the art. The aforementioned Pint bar brawl scene is pretty crazy, showcasing a bunch of different parts of a bar brawl at once. The end effect is actually quite entertaining; sort of like multiple frames of a video layers on top of one another. Crosswords is a violent being and Mulvey doesn't let the gore of his torture tactics overwhelm the issue. It's tough to illustrate a character like him without being too graphic, but Mulvey does a great job with it.

Scam #3 is the halfway point in the series and it continues to keep things interesting. The series has put Tru's grand caper on the backburner a bit, as the crew is grappling with a slew of changes and surprises. Tru is being set up to work a different angle and it's possible that someone gets betrayed in the end. Scam is a great comic and one of strongest combinations of writing and art out right now, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

Scam #3 is available for preorder with Diamond Code OCT120973.