Review: Scorpion #1

Scorpion #1 cover
Cover by Howard Chaykin

Scorpion #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), February 1975

Title: “The Death’s Gemini Commission”
Synopsis: Someone is trying to sabotage an air-transport company – until the Scorpion and Miss Bishop put a stop to the shenanigans.

Writer: Howard Chaykin
Penciler: Chaykin
Inker: Chaykin

Review: While most Atlas (Seaboard) comics are long on potential and short on execution, Scorpion #1 is a fully formed gem. An early effort from writer/artist Howard Chaykin, this issue already sports many of the creator’s go-to moves: rich, graphic storytelling; thuggish villains and sexy dames; a pulpish, 1930s world set against the backdrop of World War II; and, of course, one of the earliest prototypes of Chaykin’s recurring rogue hero (later iterations would include Dominic Fortune, a reboot of this very character for Marvel). This is the work of an already confident creator, serving up comic goodness with much pizzazz.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “A decent pastiche of Doc Savage and his pulp brethren.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #34, April-May 2003 … “Highly regarded by fandom due to Howie Chaykin’s plot and art.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983

Cool factor: Scorpion #1 is a prototype for all things Chaykin (albeit with a lot less sex).

Character quotable: “… it’s mornings like these … when I really start feeling my age.” – The Scorpion, eternal champion

A word from the writer/artist: “A lot of the signature stuff that ultimately evolved into what I did for a living for the next 20 years or so did show up in that book.” – Howard Chaykin, talking about the Scorpion in Comic Book Artist #16, December 2001

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 5, 2010.

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