Suspended Animation: Scout

Friday, April 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Emanuel Santana is troubled. Troubled with visions, and spirits who visit him in the form of animals, and monsters which only he can see, and whom he must kill.

Who wouldn't be troubled? As a young Apache man on a mission to rid a futuristic world of four legendary beasts disguised as humans, while simultaneously dodging military authorities, he certainly has a full plate. I'm referring to the work entitled Scout: The Four Monsters, by creator, writer and artist Timothy Truman.

Released in a trade paperback collection of the first seven issues in 1988, Scout was set in the close of the twentieth century. While this futuristic America was a bleak place, it was, refreshingly, not due to nuclear war. Instead, it was a U.S. shut off from most of the world, the once-great nation's allies having bled her dry of resources and turned their backs. Now, only a few of the rich fare sumptuously, while the majority starve and waste away.

This is not an uplifting story, even considering a somewhat positive ending. In the beginning, Santanna is a hero by compunction, driven by his spirit guide, or "gahn." He appears to the other characters, and even, at times, to the reader, to be less than "stable." Toward the end, however, the character begins to evolve, to act for deeper reasons; not altruistic, but something like it. Truman keeps the tone dark and morose mostly through use of his distinctive art style.

Though I have never been a big fan of his art, he has gained an impressive following over the years, beginning with this work.

This, coupled with the fact that Scout is far removed from typical comic fare, makes it recommended for older readers. Intense violence and some nudity rule it out for children.

Look for this book at your local comic shop, comic book conventions, or online catalogs or auctions. For the comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook. Scout: The Four Monsters, published by Eclipse Books, 136 pages, $14.95.