Up until this issue, Battle Scars has been a relatively forgettable yet decent mini-series. The series is set post-Fear Itself, one of two mini-series to launch out of the aftermath of the crossover. It’s still not readily apparent just why this series was launched now, and why it was tied into the aftermath of Fear Itself like it was, because there’s not much in the content that has anything to do with the storyline in Fear Itself. Whereas Fear Itself: The Fearless directly picks up from Fear Itself, with the enchanted hammers from that event being a sought-after prize throughout the Marvel Universe, this series has felt like it could have taken place anywhere and anytime. With this issue’s last page cliffhanger, it feels like pieces are starting to fall into place, although the picture that they make up is not in any way a picture I’m happy to be seeing.
This mini-series has introduced the new character of Marcus Johnson to the Marvel Universe and the readers, and thus far there’s really not that much that’s notable about him. It’s part of what makes reading this series frustrating at times, because he’s a relatively normal human being, who’s a military-trained professional, who is suddenly finding himself pursued not just by SHIELD , but by villains like Taskmaster and the Serpent Society, as well as mercenaries like Deadpool. The character is thankfully still written in such a way that he recognizes being in over his head, but his actions in this issue once again push logic to its limit, as he is able to successfully trail and blindside an individual who is perhaps the hardest person in the Marvel Universe to sneak up on and surprise. But the identity of this individual is nowhere near as surprising as his connection to Johnson.
And this is when the series completely falls off the tracks. The revelation that occurs feels very arbitrary, but when one considers that the Avengers movie is just a couple months from coming out, it feels much more calculated, opportunistic and unnecessary. The revelation about who Marcus Johnson’s father is doesn’t make a lot of sense, in any context, especially given what that character has been doing over the past few years. It’ll be interesting if nothing else to see just how this revelation will end up affecting those involved, and what effect it may have on the Marvel Universe as a result.
Although the story is average at best, thankfully the artwork by Scot Eaton is far from it, as he knocks another issue out of the park. His linework is very smooth, and captures the action in the issue in such a fluid and masterful way, that it makes each panel a joy to look at.
Going forwards, it’s clear that the overall enjoyment of this mini-series will depend solely on how the revelation is followed up on and handled in the next two issues, because everything that came before pales in comparison to how huge the revelation could be, and what Marvel intends on doing with both Johnson and his father in the future.