SCOUT HANDBOOK AN ATLAS TO SURVIVAL IN NEW AMERICA

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A book about the world of Scout in 2003. It includes maps of both America and the world. The various weapons and vehicles including the giant robots that have appeared. It also has personal profiles of Scout and the major characters that have appeared in the series. Finally it has a world history for this fictional alternate reality.

I really enjoyed this issue. It filled in a lot about the series that we sometimes only got glimpses of in the stories. The world is just wild. Its like some wet dream of Vladimir Putin. The Soviet Union has become the preeminent world power. They control India, Pakistan, Scandinavia, France, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and all of Central/South America and Mexico. They also have a cozy alliance with Canada and a lucrative trade deal with Japan.

The other world power is the Israeli Consolidated State. Israel allied themselves with Egypt and Italy to eventually take over all of north Africa from Morocco to Somalia. They have Spain, Italy ,Greece Turkey and what looks like Yugoslavia on the map. They also control all the Arabian peninsula with Iraq and Iran under their control. Wow that is wild. A very far fetched vision of the future. Oh and Switzerland includes all of Germany, Austria, Denmark and what looks like Hungary and Romania.

So in this future the U.S. suffered a series of natural and man-made disasters. The San Andreas fault went and with it the west coast of California. Nuclear meltdowns in Pennsylvania and the South. A trade embargo from most of the now Socialist world. They were forced to give up Alaska to what is now a buffer state between Canada and the Soviets. They are now a poor third world country and currently in a civil war between the Southwest Free States and the Federal government which now calls itself New America.

The history is sort of a reverse from what really happened. In this reality its the U.S. that fell apart economically and politically while the Soviets were the opposite. It was normal at the time in the ’80s to view Communism as an irresistible movement that would continue to expand. What’s new is the portrayal of what happens to America. Normally they would somehow be taken over either through force or an apathy on the public. In this the country is so poor that nobody even cares to take it over. Kind of a sobering outlook that gave this series a unique feel for a dystopian future. A very enjoyable series.

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SCOUT #24

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“Sittin’ On Top Of The World”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

The world is heading toward a world war. The two major superpowers the Soviet Union and the Israeli Consolidated States are in open conflict. Monday the Eliminator has a plan. Using a space shuttle and a Soviet operative he and Scout infiltrate Skybase 5. Skybase 5 the ‘Hammer of Peace’ is a floating missile platform in space with over five hundred nuclear missiles. Monday floods the station with a nerve gas killing the thousand personal aboard. He then gives the world governments an ultimatum. Stop the fighting or he will launch the missiles.

This is the final issue in this series. It comes to a dramatic conclusion. I thought it was interesting way to end the fighting. Monday is immortal and with supplies for a thousand he can sit up in space alone monitoring the Earth. Of course while the major conflict is ended there will still be plenty of minor conflicts. The U.S. is already in a Civil War. This will be explored in two mini-series that will bridge the gap between the ending of this series and the new War Shaman. So Scout is definitely coming back.

SCOUT #23

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“Cryin’ At Daybreak”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

For 28 days Scout and the rebels have held off the Mexicans. Receiving no replacements, supplies, sleep or any type of support they have held the high ground. Now a new enemy arrives. Divisions of the U.S. Marines and Salvation Army have arrived but not to join the fight. They are there to arrest Lt. Winters and her men. Now the group is caught between two forces and the ends looks grim.

Luckily the Israeli 7th fleet arrives and imposes a peace between the warring parties. Avner arrives with Senator Creek. The situation in the southwestern states is deteriorating fast. The government is deliberately withholding rations. Israel offers support to the southwestern states in the form of supplies, arms and advisors. A civil war is looming. They also have exposed VP Lopers murder of President Carver. At the end news comes of a Soviet invasion of Israel and its allies. The Mexican invasion was a ploy to lure the Israelis attention from their own border. The Legion of Man has started their endgame to control the world.

“Pie in the Sky”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

In the mid 1990’s with America pulling out of the space race, the Soviets start construction on Skybase 5 “The Hammer of Peace”. This massive station is a nuclear weapons platform with hundreds of missiles. Sergei Plehve is a captain stationed on Skybase 5. A loyal Communist but also a member of the Samothracians.

The story has taken a dramatic turn. Civil war is all but inevitable in the U.S. The Israelis are now in a war with the Soviet Union which means a world war. The introduction of Skybase 5 and its Samothracian agent hints that this base will play a major role in the conclusion to this storyline in the next issue. It sets up a lot that makes the reader want to find out how it ends. A great issue in this series.

SCOUT# 22

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“The Wolf Is At Your Door!”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Ben Dunn

The Mexican army has crossed the border. Five divisions equipped with Hind gunships, tanks, APCs and giant robots. All that stands against them are Lt. Winter’s Ranger Division, the Swords of Texas mercenaries and Monday’s guys. And of course Scout and his trusty Lee-Enfield. This ragged assortment manages to hit the commie Mexicans hard. They manage to grab some captured armor and dig in wondering why the government hasn’t responded to the invasion. It seems like someone wants the Mexicans to grab a foothold in Texas. At the end President Carver is killed by VP Loper and the death made to look like a drug overdose. Unknown to him the Israelis videotaped the murder.

“Beau La Duke’s Tips for Real Men”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harkins

Another short from La Duke. This time he answers two letters from readers. One a misguided man to hang himself with his silk scarf. The other real foods to eat and avoid. Some foods to eat Tacos, beef jerky and blood red steaks. To avoid granola, yogurt and chocolate mousse(leave it to the French to mess up chocolate pudding.)

So this issue is a full length battle issue. It has lots of explosions, tanks, giant robots and giant robots exploding. So cool that the future was supposed to have giant robots. We really failed to live up to that potential. We are approaching the endgame to the Legion of Man’s plan for world domination. As Monday says this battle will change the world and I look forward to see how that plays out.

SCOUT #21

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“I’m On Fire”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Las Vegas has been nuked. Thousands killed and many more of the residents are now refugees. But this is the beginning of a sinister plan. Communist Mexican troops that have been massing at the border cross over in a police action. The U.S. government is not responding to this aggression. Only Senator Creek and Monday’s people stand in the way. Lt. Rosa Winters shows up to arrest Creek with a division of Rangers. Seeing the invading army she decides to defy orders to pull back and join Creek in fighting the Mexicans.

“I Cross My Heart”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

The official government news paints a very positive picture of the Las Vegas blast. Few casualties because “there weren’t that many people in the area.” The fallout is harmlessly falling into the Pacific Ocean and all the survivors are happy and well cared for. This broadcast is interrupted by La Duke’s pirate broadcast that sets the record straight. His broadcast brings government agents who are promptly ambushed and disarmed. The agents get left tied to a cactus with the leader tied under a cow.

The story is entering an exciting phase. Las Vegas nuked and the Mexican army is invading. What’s more this was all planned by people in the government. Some sinister plan by the Legion of Man. Scout and Rosa are now working together. The next issue is going to be a real battle.

The second story was a nice bit of comic relief after such a serious main story. I just love La Duke’s way of saying things. “There’s two kinds of people in this world pal– those that hold guns up to the heads of wise-mouthed college educated east-coast neo-fascists in business suits, and those that wet their pants. You’ll notice that I have the gun.”

SCOUT #20

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“Black Cat Bone”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Senator Craig Creek is getting ready for a national broadcast. He wants to expose the government and is setting up a pirate broadcast. He hired both the Swords of Texas and Beau La Duke to collect crucial equipment on a chartered plane in Las Vegas. So Scout, La Duke and Banner of the Swords of Texas head out. When they reach the plane it has been hijacked by Ortega. Ortega has the stolen nuke and plans to frame Senator Creek with it exploding. A fight on the plane results in the nuke falling out and detonating over Las Vegas.

“Poison In My Coffee”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Bill Jaska

Rosa Winters a newly promoted lieutenant is back from OTS to meet with President Carver. She is accompanied by Mossad agent Glanzman. The meeting with President Carver and VP Loper discusses the growing threat to the south. Communist Mexican forces are gathering for an invasion. The government needs Isreali arms and training. Also Winters still has to find the missing nuke from Mount Fire. At the end it is revealed that VP Loper is in league with the Legion of Man and their grand scheme.

Well the story is now basically bringing together all the main characters in the Scout universe. Scout, La Duke, the Swords of Texas, The Disciples of Soul, Rosa Winters, President Carver, VP Loper, and Monday. Armies are gathering for a final confrontation and a nuclear explosion destroys Las Vegas. It really makes the reader anxious to find out what happens next.

SCOUT #19

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“Houserockers”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Missy is forced to play for Savage Henry’s band. As the concert starts the Disciples of Soul come roaring in on their pickup truck. They challenge Lex Lucifer and his band to a blues playoff. The epic Battle of the Bands begins and both sides gain a grudging respect for each others talent. Just as Savage Henry is about to get violent the mayor of Las Vegas Mayor Clint who looks suspiciously like Clint Eastwood comes. He tears up the contract and warns Savage Henry to behave. As the group starts to drift away Monday returns with a Senator Craig Creek. An epic battle with the Legion of Man is coming.

“If I Don’t Be There By Morning”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

Monday recovers from his wounds. He gets a cybernetic attached shotgun that he can just think and shoot. We learn that he is immortal and has lived centuries. A Senator Creek comes to offer his services to the Samothracians with the coming battle against the Legion of Man. At the end we learn that the Soviet Union is now controlled by the Legion and is using the Mexicans for some move at world domination.

“The Sessions- February, 1987”
A gallery of pictures showing the recording of the flexi-disc insert by the Dixie Pistols. Looks like the guys had a lot of fun.

“Real Man Spot Quiz:”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harkins

Another satirical quiz by Beau La Duke. You can answer the questions and send in. No prize is mentioned.

This Scout had a flexi-disc insert and had recorded the songs that were played in the story. Truman is a blues lover and has his own band the Dixie Pistols. This was a personal project for the author and a tribute to the blues. I never removed the disc from my comic. Didn’t have a record play back in 1987 but I’m sure its good. Also find out that after the economy collapses Clint Eastwood looks like he moved up and became mayor of Las Vegas. And of course the story ends with a promise to reunite all the major characters in the Scout universe for a climactic battle between two ancient groups.

SCOUT #18

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“Blues Hit Big Town”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout and Monday are in Las Vegas for some mysterious reason that Monday has not yet divulged. He has some business to take care of and leaves Scout alone. While wandering the streets he sees a poster for his old friend Missy who is now the hottest act in town. He visits her and while there a CPA for a Savage Henry comes with the band Blue Scream. He produces a contract that Missy had with Savage Henry’s father for ‘Entertainment Services.’ He demands that she come to the Cactus Kingdom to start her new gig with the Blue Scream. Naturally Scout and the Disciples of Soul have other plans.

“If I Don’t Be There By Morning”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

Monday has just split from Scout and is being stalked through the alleys of Vegas by professional killers. Monday is also a professional and manages to ambush them. He then meets up with his old Vietnam war buddy Wizard. He’s part of the Samothracians the group that opposes the Legion of Man.

“The Virtues of Beer; The Pitfalls of Marriage Minded Women”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harkins

Another installment of Beau La Duke’s tips for real men. This is why real men prefer beer over women.
You don’t have to buy beer dinner.
When a beer gets flat you can toss it.
You can always pick up a beer in a bar.
A beer won’t get mad at you for coming home with beer on your breath.
A beer doesn’t mind cold hands.
You can have more than one beer and not feel guilty.
And most important of all…
A beer won’t get mad when you pass out.

This installment of Scout is sort of an intermission before the big event. Scout reunites with some old friends and there’s going to be a big battle of the bands. Truman is a big blues fan and this will be his tribute. Las Vegas is apparently the only city in America that still is going strong. Indeed I guess the future dystopia doesn’t effect sin city.

The Monday backup gives us some more insight into the character. It has been hinted that Monday is old and we find out he was around for the French Revolution. We also find out that there is another ancient group known as the Samothracians that have been fighting the Legion of Man. At the end we find out that the stolen warhead hasn’t been forgotten and will play a major part of the storyline.

La Duke’s tips for beer. Well what can I say it makes sense.

SCOUT #17

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“Key to the Highway”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout and Monday are on the road after breaking out of the V.A. hospital in Maine. After attacking some targets to make it look like they are heading south, they take the back roads in their ’55 Bel Aire and head west back to Scouts home territory. They pass through an economically and environmentally devastated America avoiding the police and Salvation Army reservists. They get in a fight with the locals in Kansas and the two stop at Scout’s uncle who owns a junk yard in New Mexico. Scout goes through a sweat lodge to cleanse the drugs out of him. A vision of a monster is defeated by an army of tiny beans wielding spears. The uncle gives the two a motorcycle/sidecar combo with a .30 caliber to continue on their way.

“She’s a Hum-Dum Dinger From Dingersville”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: John K. Snyder III

Missy and the New Disciples of Soul are playing to sold out crowds at the Circus Maximus in Vegas. There is trouble on the way. The rival group that the completion hired called “Lex Lucifer and the Blue Scream” have arrived. Trouble is sure to ensue.

“Do-It-Yourself Maintenance For National Guard Defence Vehicles!”
Writer: Steven Scott Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harkins

Another Beau La Duke’s tips for real men installment. This time he shows how to take care of National Guard vehicles. Take the extra fuel cans to cut down on weight. Break off the antenna to cut wind resistance. Make sure the tires don’t have too much air with the special tire gauge(aka a knife). And of course fill the air vents with cow dung to give the city boys the air of the open range.

This was a great story. Monday and Scout are now together. The road trip gives us a glimpse of what the country looks like outside of the southwest. Not a real pretty sight. Pittsburgh is a ghost town. A country western cult controls West Virginia keeping the moonshine flowing and the cops out. The Midwest farmland is desolate and a water pipeline takes water from the great lakes having to be protected from Canadian saboteurs. The Beanworld cameo was handled well and fit logically into the story. Monday is still mysterious and makes the reader want to know more about his past.

The short backup story with the band sets up a conflict that will bring together everyone since Monday and Scout are heading to Vegas.

The La Duke segment is another humorous installment. La Duke really loves the National Guard.

SCOUT #16

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“Stormy Monday”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artists: Timothy Truman & Flint Henry

Scout is forced to free Monday from his prison cell. Monday knows about Scout and want him to come along. Scout doesn’t trust the big stranger and a fight ensues. The two later join forces to evade the guards and escape from the V.A. Hospital. A group of Indians is waiting for them and give them food, clothing and a ’55 Bel Aire.

“3-D Horror”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harking

Another installment of Beau La Duke’s tips from real men. This time he plans to spend some quality time with his sons. So they go off in the big tire pickup truck. It breaks down and the bored kids decide to play with the ‘toys’ which are real assault rifles.

Well this is a 3-D special issue and I can say that I don’t care for the gimmick. Yeah its 3-D when you look through the glasses but I think it hurts the artwork. Also someone like me with glasses finds the 3-D glasses awkward and uncomfortable. The story is ok but obviously written more with 3-D action than any substance in mind. The only important thing about this forgettable issue is that Monday and Scout are united which is sure to be an exciting story when the non 3-D stories come back.