‘Scales & Scoundrels #12’ Review: A Swan Song

Writer:Sebastien Girner / Artist: Galaad / Image Comics

Not like this. Not like this. Or…exactly like this.

When you gotta step away from the game, and you get to go out on your terms? That’s a swan song folks. Girner, Galaad, and Powell (hitherto referred to as GGP) take us out of Scales & Scoundrels the way they brought us in: with a beautiful song of introspection and purpose.

S&S #12 takes us back to Dorma’s happy place, her phobia of the dark.

GGP do their ‘less is more’ thing all throughout the issue. They also give us some unintentional closure with Dorma and the rest of the crew that went into Dened Luwin. While there is no true finality or closure for those of us heavily invested in the world GGP has created in S&S, they leave us with some of the best-developed characters…ever. The marvel of this is that there have only been 12 issues. I can’t speak for every comic reader, but Girner, Galaad, and Powell are a Dream Team (the 90s team with Drexler to be exact).

Scales & Scoundrels #12 acts as a microcosm for the series as a whole up to this point. There is a remarkable depth to the writing, the writing is closely connected to the design, and the design is married to the development of the S&S universe. I am most impressed with how GGP used Dorma, who was the least ‘active’ in the first arc, to showcase that. By the end of issue #12, you have witnessed the birth of an entirely new version of Dorma without it ever feeling forced.

In retrospect, I can finally see the scope of what GGP envisioned for the series. The development of not just the ‘scales’ (Luvander and everything magical or otherworldly) but also of the ‘scoundrels;’ which may have been this deep excavation of character we’re seeing with Dorma in issue #12. I call this issue a swan song because the series is ending. The creators have also been humbled by the response to their work.

What will be missed sorely with the indefinite suspension of Scales & Scoundrels is the feeling of being witness to a world that doesn’t fight for your attention with a giant crossover event. I can say, without a doubt, that in a world where comic culture is super-mainstreamed and run by corporate interest – Girner, Galaad, and Powell (among others, of course) give me hope for the integrity of the medium.

9 farewells out of 10

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