Choosing the road less traveled doesn’t always go the way of Robert Frost poems. Sometimes it gets you jumped by a gang of thieves, while you’re in possession of a highly sought after magical octopus. Taking a page out of the Mountain from Game of Thrones‘ book (and of course I mean full eye gouge), Taipuitea fights three against one, in a bloody tussle. The splashy red color artist, David Mims, uses for the blood is a gash against pastels. You want to wipe it off the page, like a stain, which is how blood from violence should make you feel. If splitting up the crew of The Runaway Horse last issue was supposed to keep both groups safe, mission not accomplished.
While Captain Hans and the crew meet with a potential buyer for the octopus, Hans’ wife, Katsuko, and Taipuitea are dropped off on land. The thinking was this split would prevent any funny business, with the mollusk getting stolen before a deal could be struck. Hans had to have thought land would be safer too, with enemies staying on the ship, or dividing over who to keep tabs on. Well, their enemies are wholly confident the octopus is land bound and it becomes so that one of the ways to tell antagonists apart is their desire whether to make Hans a widow.
Then again, confusing who is who isn’t a problem Scrimshaw has. Instead of additional characters overcrowding the story, writer, Eric Borden, and Mims have made every player singular, down to their back-up soldiers. Mr. Song is prideful but thinks, and has the training to do damage. Danny is a wildcard, a pirate with no respect for laws and a quick trigger finger. There aren’t many who could make Danny look tame but, screaming onto the scene, Hans’ interested buyer, Fox, raises the game. Fox is the kind of guy you would want to turn to a friend and ask, “Is he for real?” if that turn wouldn’t be your last. Where Danny has spurts of almost feigning sanity, Fox is explosive, taken seriously because he holds power, and turning to the rhino’s head mounted over his desk as a spirit animal.
The thought of the Runaway Horse team dispersing so quickly after coming together was disappointing in issue two, but in execution, with more of Mims’ beautiful ocean shots, Scrimshaw has made the difference inconsequential. One storyline doesn’t triumph over the other and there is no shortage of bad guys to go around.
Scrimshaw #3 comes out today.