In the indie comic series known as Scruffy Puppies (written and illustrated by creator Brent J. Trembath), a team of mutant, anthropomorphic canines have became a well-trained, heroic team of combatants who patrol the post-apocalyptic wasteland they call home. Feeling like a cross between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Expendables, Scruffy Puppies feels like one of those special (and weirdly fun) finds discovered while wandering Artist Alley.
Telling the story of a “future where humans and mutant animals alike walk the earth,” Scruffy Puppies tells the story of Armor, the new and untested team leader, attempting to hold together his team of dog soldiers while they suffer a new and unexpected attack at their home base, a facility known as “The Pound.” The attackers have mysterious knowledge of Armor, but he has no idea why, and the relentless assaults on the headquarters threaten to force the team from their home.
The first two issues of Scruffy Puppies are a unique reading experience. While many indie comic readers have become prepared for the unexpected to occur between the pages, it’s still a bold and surprising move for an alien invasion, the near extinction of the human race, and the defeat of our extra-terrestrial visitors to occur before we’ve even met our lead characters. Trembath confidently opens his series with an outlandish and wild history lesson explaining how Earth reached its current state before diving immediately into the action, switching from aliens and mutants to doggies blowing people’s heads off without missing a beat. While the concept and characters of Scruffy Puppies seem derivative at times (echoing bits of Ninja Turtles, Inhumans, and more), Trembath’s writing comes off as the product of someone who knows and loves pop culture and comic book stories, using that love and inspiration to create their own “mutant” breed in the form of a new and original comic book.
Trembath’s artwork may appear rough or unfinished for some readers, but anyone familiar with indie comics will enjoy the old school “ash-can”-type feel to his work. In addition, Trembath does an excellent job in the design and depiction of this team of characters, making sure readers can visually identify them without much trouble (a more common pitfall than one might think for indie books featuring a team of similar characters).
FINAL VERDICT: Readers who dig the bizarre concepts of the indie comic scene, the fun and drama of team dynamics (and conflict), and puppies who take no issue with delivering Dirty Harry-style lethal justice should consider fetching a copy of Scruffy Puppies.
Creative Team: Brent J. Trembath (writer/artist)
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