Today marks a triumphant yet sad day for comic book fans and shops. The fourth and final issue of the Titan Comics Scarlett Couture series by Des Taylor released this Wednesday (7/29). Taylor’s work on Scarlett Couture provided a decidedly brighter, flashier, and more elegant alternative to the usual staples of monthly comic book reading. While we, at What’cha Reading, normally shy away from words such as “hot” or sexy”, Scarlett Couture is easily the sexiest of comic book series out right now. It’s not just because of Scarlett, artist/writer Taylor’s bombshell of a daughter of a famous fashion designer turned spy hero, but more so due to his dynamic art style and approach to his story. If you haven’t read Scarlett Couture, issue four is a straight-forward and enjoyable enough read to be entertaining as a stand-alone issue. But, if you want the most out of Des Taylor’s terrific debut, the first trade paperback for Scarlett Couture releases this December. You could read more about that here.
Des Taylor will soon be widely adored for his beautiful and classy renderings of DC Comics Bombshells. The comic series, which began digitally last Saturday, will arrive in print this August. Before his work with DC can be seen next month, let’s take a look at Scarlett Couture issue 4. The issue picks up with Scarlett making her way up to the surface while underwater. Her mind races from worrying about pulmonary barotrauma (lung pressure damage in scuba divers caused by breath-holding on ascent) to Paris Fashion Week. It’s just the right balance of girl and spy that Taylor does not betray throughout the four-issue series. We are reminded of a Sydney Bristow of ALIAS with more emphasis on Scarlett being a female Ethan Hunt. This seems exceptionally relevant with this week’s release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson plays British spy Ilsa Faust and remarkably holds her own against Cruise’s impossible antics and stunts within the film. If anything, Ilsa is one of the most exciting characters within Mission and Des Taylor’s Scarlett is one of the most exciting heroes!
The action and pace is as expertly staged as any summer blockbuster; Scarlett Couture issue 4 is no exception. Jumping to the Nevada Desert, we see Scarlett being interrogated by “the guy with the knife [who]stinks of psycho!” It’s a moment where Taylor creates this unsettling level of suspense as we have grown attached to Miss Carver in such a way that we don’t want him to pull a Mark Millar and kill her off in her own series. It bubbles back to the opening of Scarlett Carver holding her breath. It’s done in such a way that as we reach the fifth panel, we realize we’ve been holding our breath just as long as she has! Des Taylor is as skilled a writer as he is an artist. It’s a sentiment I’ve seen expressed across several reviews and I can’t help but add to it. His work takes a life of its own with a heavily animated look and it looks like nothing else on comic shelves.
The heart of Scarlett Couture issue 4 concerns itself with Scarlett having to stop a group trying to assassinate the Secretary of Defense at none other than Defendcon. They also plan on releasing a biological weapon on Las Vegas. We’re told it “makes ricin and plutonium taste like Ben & Jerry’s.” How’s that for a description? Of course, she manages to escape the interrogation and stealthily make her exit. The final issue of this particular chapter of Scarlett Couture is fast paced and reaches an explosively fun conclusion. The action is depicted in a very clear way and easily places Ms. Carver at the very top of action heroes.
It’s sad to know that in the coming months, if only for right now, that Scarlett Couture will no longer be with us. She’s a fully realized character and also a smartly written female. Des Taylor has an understanding for voice and he gives the audience a hero that while based on the spy/action conceit, couldn’t be further from cliche. His work should be placed on everyone’s must list for not just the summer, but for the year.
Scarlett Couture issue 4 is available now. We give it five stars!