scars cover

Warren Ellis and Jacen Burrows team up once again for this amazing comic steeped in violence and some ol’ fashioned police work.

Note: minor plot spoilers ahead, although nothing that will ruin the main storyline for you is revealed

Scars explores how far a detective must go to catch a monster…even if he becomes a monster in the process.  After playing the part of witness (and victim) to his wife and unborn child getting killed in a drive-by shooting, Detective John Cain is assigned a gut-wrenchingly awful murder case in which a little girl has been chopped up and left in a box.  Despite no official evidence, Detective Cain knows who did it, and will stop at nothing to get the perpetrator…one way or another.

 scars 4 panel

With Scars, Warren Ellis once again shows how good of a writer he truly is.  Considering how little dialogue there is in this story, Ellis is able to convey a huge amount of backstory and emotion through his minimalist and straightforward writing.  Obviously inspired by twisted crime books/movies such as Se7en and Kiss the Girls, Scars stares unflinchingly into the abyss of depravity and violence.  Like most comics reviewed on this site (and like most everything Warren Ellis or Jacen Burrows have ever worked on), Scars is definitely for “mature” readers only.  Graphic violence, nudity, and foul language are on every page.  Make no mistake, this is a real downer of a comic, so you will likely want something fun or exciting lined up after you finish it (I myself started the Cerebus series after I finished.)

 scars in car

Jacen Burrows (who works primarily with Alan Moore and Garth Ennis) adds a depth and intensity to the storyline with his fantastic illustrations.  If you have ever read Wormwood, 303, or Crossed (amongst many other works), then you are already familiar with Burrows’ intense style.  By expertly placing the smallest of lines on a blank face, Burrows manages to create a wide range of emotion and variety amongst the characters.  Ellis’ exceptional writing is what makes the story, but Burrows’ fantastic style really brings everything to life. 

 scars

Overall, Scars is a great comic.  This small trade collects all of the singles, and at the end of each chapter includes a few paragraphs from Ellis about the difficulties he encountered while writing this story.  If you enjoy messed up crime thrillers, Scars is a comic you must check out.