Scratch9 #01 Review (

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, February 07, 2011

Cats and scientists don't mix.
What They Say:
Have you seen this cat? Because he is awesome! Scratch has the ability to summon any of his nine lives. Now he must use his new powers to save his pet friends from the C.R.U.E.L. Corporation's robot minions. Good thing his first life was as a sabretooth tiger! 

The Review:
Comics about cats certainly go back a long way and for a lot of people in my age range, some of the earliest cat comics come from either Garfield or Hobbes, which is definitely a wide range right there. Having read some truly wonderful comics about a cat recently with Chi's Sweet Home, I was keen to see what Scratch9 was all about and to get a chance to critique some of Mr. Worley's work after working alongside him for a few years on something completely unrelated. Scratch9's miniseries runs for four issues and so when the first issue showed up on the Comics+ by iVerse for the iPad, I grabbed it and settled in for a read, especially since I'm always looking for new comics that I can introduce my kids to as most superhero comics are pretty unsuitable.
Scratch9 introduces us to a fun little cat, not quite a kitten but not a mature cat, named Scratch who has a good, fun and playful relationship with his owner, Penelope. The book gives us a nice little stalking scene at the start which shows how their humor works and the kind of banter that they employ, though obviously neither truly understands what the other is saying. Things go bad not too long after that though as Penelope wants to make sure that Scratch can always find his way home should he get lost and that means a collar. With Scratch not being the kind of cat who wants to be tied down like that, he bolts and heads off to the big city. Sadly, it's not what he really wanted and he's just hopeful the Penelope will find him. Which will be harder to do after he gets picked up by animal services...
It's from here that the book takes a distinct turn as we're introduced to a few other captured critters, a cat named Marco who has spent his life on the run after being born into “captivity” and Rollo, a chicken that he befriended when he escaped that spent his life in fights for his owner. The two of them are the loner types that got away but have been captured again. While you can imagine that Scratch will end up at a shelter or somewhere else with these two, or they'll bust out, it's actually something quite different. Scratch finds himself sold off to a scientists, Dr. Schrodinger, for a princely sum of ten bucks so that he can be experimented on. The good doctor is frustrated with the whole aging process and he intends to use the theoretical nine lives angle of cats in order to be able to transfer someones essence into a robotic body to prove it can be done. And Scratch is just that subject.
Naturally, the experiment goes horribly awry and the results give us a very different kind of Scratch which is the main hook here. While he's normal looking, having not been transferred over, it appears that he's able to subconsciously summon cats from the past in order to deal with a particular situation. When things turn violent, an ancestor cat from twelve thousand years ago appears out of him and deals with the problem. Along with some fun facts. The exploration of this angle gives the book a lot of room to play with things since there's a wide variety of cat types out there that can be used and they can be used in pretty creative ways, such as we see how this particular cat has some awareness of his past and a sense of self that lasts a bit. With Scratch having this ability, it certainly gives him the ability to survive in the wild on his own, sorta, if that's what he really wants.
Digital Notes:
This digital edition of Scratch9 contains no alternate covers or bonuses and has just the straightforward twenty-six page book through the iVerse application.
In Summary:
Scratch9 certainly has a good sense of self right from the start and it has a solid mix of fun and seriousness to it as Scratch deals with being out in the real world. Worley has created a fun little character here with a lot of potential and has given him a good world to play in, one that's kept simple in its own way but has room for some depth when it comes to exploring what Scratch can do and the ties tot he past. There's also a good sense of fun about the little details, from Schrodinger's name to what his lab name can be shortened to, never mind the symbol for it. And the name of the android he creates. Jason Kruse gives Scratch a very appealing look that's distinct from other cats that are out there in modern media but also with some nods towards famous cats of the past. Scratch9 hits a lot of the right notes here and makes it an easy book to check out that should work both for kids and adults because of how its layered.

Mania Grade: B+
Distributed By: Ape Entertainment
Pages: 26
MSRP: 1.99
Distribution: iVerse via iPad
Written By: Rob M. Worley
Artist: Jason T. Kruse
Series: Scratch9