Writers: Sean Lewis & Todd McFarlane
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Andworld Design
Cover Artists: Mark Brooks; Francesco Tomaselli
Release Date: April 26, 2023
As Space Shuttle Frontier returns to Earth, the flight crew notices fire in the skies over Europe. They report: “There’s a shape to it.” What happens when Frontier enters Earth’s atmosphere? What’s causing this atmospheric disturbance? Let’s descend into Scorched #17 and find out!
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On Omega Island, Monolith tells She-Spawn, Medieval, and Redeemer that Gaia has marked Earth for destruction. She-Spawn cries out when Frontier hits one of several lines of fire. Monolith tells her that this is just the beginning. Unlike them, he has seen this happen to other worlds. He doesn’t want it to happen again. Like Monolith, Urizen also views events on a cosmic scale. He sends Necro, Margaret Love, and Mandarin—these children who had thought to order him about—to spread a pandemic. Then, they hit the survivors with a monstrous plague. Forget about Gaia—can anyone on Earth survive with Urizen spearheading the apocalypse?
Either Sean Lewis and Todd McFarlane introduced characters and events more clearly this time or my growing familiarity with this series is granting me keener insight. Perhaps fewer team members—and the lack of pages devoted to infighting between the Scorched and Urizen’s group—also helped me better understand the story, the players, and the stakes in Scorched #17.
Stephen Segovia’s heroes and villains remain bigger and bolder than life in The Scorched #17. The exception was Mandarin Spawn, who seemed thinner and less threatening. Has servitude under Urizen drained him? Among his fellows, Necro seemed the most powerful. His red eyes, and the electricity sparking across his metal features, never reminded me more of The Terminator. After the damaged thermal tiles that caused the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, I shared She-Spawn’s heartbreak at Frontier’s destruction. Segovia made that moment all too real. While Medieval and Redeemer seem immensely cool–and Monolith dominates every panel, single-page, and double-page spread–she’s the most relatable of the Scorched.
I also liked the hungry space monsters Gaia created and how they compare with the plague Necro, Margaret Love, and Mandarin unleash on the pandemic survivors. Shadows and highlights play across Monolith’s boulder-like muscles. Ulises Arreola enhances lines and inking to increase the depth and texture of our heroes’ suits. The intricate embossing of Medieval Spawn’s plate armor stands out. Lights dot apartment blocks in cities aflame, reminding us that people still cling to life. Perhaps Arreola could have added more nuance to the interior walls glimpsed beyond Urizen, but Segovia left them blank.
While many comics feature small lettering that shrinks to express feelings and intonations, Andworld Design treats readers of all ages (and eyesight capabilities) to big uppercase letters. He provides adequate spacing between letters, words, and lines of text. Yellow words in brown narration boxes lead us through these cataclysmic events. Colored letters, colored balloon outlines, and the shape of each linking arrow suggest each character’s emotions. Amid all the destruction, Andworld Design reserves sound effects for an otherwise quiet scene showing who Urizen worships.
Scorched #17 hits readers hard with memories of the 2003 Columbia disaster, our recent Covid-19 experience and the tribulations prophesied in St. John’s Book Of Revelation. Audacious and energizing, this team book will remind you how Image revolutionized comics in the ’90s.