Let me begin by saying that Battle Scars #1 works only because we only know as much as the main character. That unfortunate soul is Marcus Johnson, an Army Sergeant, who is pulled out of Afghanistan when is mother is murdered by a unknown party. As you remember these events were shown in the epilogue of Fear Itself, and Marcus is now apparently a big deal as he being hunted by some of best in the world.
The book opens in a busy war scene where Mr. Johnson comes out the hero. It's a slow open that doesn't seem to relate to the already mysterious plot, but rather immediately informs the reader the apparently normal dude is a pretty standard tough, military type. The tragic death of his mother allows us to see the tough exterior crack, but that is only momentarily as he quickly finds himself again in the path of danger as his mother's killers return for him. Marcus, the trained Ranger, takes care of those thugs, and looks pretty damn good in the process. At that time the Taskmaster shows up and kicks his ass.
On the strength of a nice solid beating Battle Scars serves as a good start to a series that is promised to have rippling ramifications in the core titles. While nothing revolutionary is revealed, the story serves as a introduction Marcus and his naivety about his situation, whatever it is. Editor Alejandro Arbona slips a note in on the title page at the end of the book that essentially urges readers to stick with the series because it will pan out. That's because of the lack of plot movement or real information in the premiere.
Scott Eaton does not really enhance or hurt the comic. His approach here is very safe, and maybe overall it was a safe choice by Marvel to have him here. When we finally got to some superpowered festivities at the end Eaton's pencils started to come alive for me, but before that it's a lot of solidly built men standing and diving. Nothing amazing, but as with the plot, it's still early.
Proclaimed as a sister series to The Fearless, Yost is off to an tepid start with Battle Scars. I've enjoy his work on various X-Men titles and I'm a big fan of the group dynamic in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series so I feel once that once the cast expands to include more familiar faces it will make for some juicy comics. I hope Taskmasker sticks around. After all, I bought this because of the cool cover.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.