Review by Ian Keogh
In the 1960s under Jim Steranko, one of the most elusive enemies security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. had to deal with was Scorpio. It fell to Nick Fury in the end, and he believed him to be dead, but hadn’t bothered informing anyone else that Scorpio was actually his brother Jake. Now it seems that Scorpio is back, and he’s responsible for wiping out an entire team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including one Wolverine considers a friend.
Archie Goodwin’s plot cleverly emphasises how what seems right and proper at the time can be considered a mistake in hindsight, with both lead characters recalling past events and how they feed into the present situation. As this was published as a project intended for an older audience, Wolverine does what he does best on panel, which was unusual for the time, while Goodwin brings the more adult sophistication from his action thriller material to bear on Fury.
Despite having written and drawn a very good Nick Fury story a decade previously, Howard Chaykin doesn’t seem very interested in this project. Until the halfway point the layouts are bland, and Chaykin only drew the foreground figures, leaving his studio assistants to fill in everything else. They do a very nice job bringing Venice to life. Chaykin draws a suitably rogueish Nick Fury, but his Wolverine is very angular, and there’s an over-reliance on snarling close-ups. It all seems flat and lacking energy, which is odd as the swathes of bright red and dark blue added by colourists Richard Ory and Barb Raush are supposed to supply just that.
There are a few surprises before the end, but the suspicion is that not all of them will surprise as intended any more. Goodwin’s plot is otherwise serviceable without ever being outstanding, and what’s supposed to be a sophisticated interpretation of the thin line between love and hate lacks subtlety. Highly regarded at the time, The Scorpio Connection has aged as well as some of the 1980s fashions Chaykin illustrates.
The Scorpio Connection was originally issued in an oversize graphic novel format, but is now more easily found combined with a sequel written by Chaykin, Scorpio Rising, and a Wolverine solo graphic novel Bloody Choices as Scorpio.