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Marksmen Vol. 1 by David Baxter, Javier Aranda & Garry Leach

01/06/2012. Contributed by Andy Whitaker

Buy Marksmen Vol. 1 in the USA - or Buy Marksmen Vol. 1 in the UK

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pub: Image Comics, Inc. 96 page graphic novel. ISBN: 978-1-60706-486-2. Price: $15.99 (US), GBP11.99 (UK).

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This graphic novel brings together issues # 1-6 of the ‘ Marksmen’ comics into one bound volume providing a complete story. The credits of those who contributed are too numerous to include in this review but they should be commended as a team for a very good effort. The production quality is very good with a visually dynamic layout and quality artwork.

The story is set in a post-apocalypse future with two surviving cities. Providing the mostly bad guys is the city of Lone Star, which has managed to hold on to its oil and gas reserves. Complete with a megalomaniac leader, ‘ The Duke’, and Deacon Glenn, a religious Christian zealot who is suspicious of technology as his right-hand man, the Lone Star city is an interesting place to live. It appears to have reverted back to an earlier level of civilisation with an overabundance of horses and guns. Did I mention that this was set in what was the USA? Although with all the horses, guns, radical Christians and a name like Lone Star, I probably did not have to mention it.

The good guys in this graphic novel are provided by the city of New San Diego or NSD as it is referred to. The citizens of NSD have continued to develop their technologies but have to revert to expeditions outside of the city to recover materials and resources. The people of NSD seem to be contented and leading a very comfortable life. In contrast to the people of Lone Star, whose oil and gas is about to run out. Their impoverished life style is set to get a lot worse unless they do something about it. They decide to raid the good people of NSD to acquire their technology and convert the population to God’s word.

The story starts with NSD’s Drake McCoy out on an expedition to recover some computer equipment when brigands attack him. A party of refugees who are fleeing the Lone Star City to warn NSD of an impending attack saves McCoy. The refugees are led by Major Joe Percival who, as it turns out, was part of the initial effort to build NSD before disagreeing with its leader and leaving years ago. It seems he has seen the error of his ways and wants to do the right thing.

The basic plot element of the story is one city attacking another to grab their resources. This is embellished with enough complications to make it interesting while providing a suitable background for lots of gratuitous violence and mayhem. There are double crosses, unknown family relatives, misguided loyalties, old flames, new flames and a pet dog. The major battle is nicely depicted but somewhat spoilt when the characters take time out to talk about family relationships. I would have thought that all the bullets flying about and rather loud explosions with people trying to kill them, they might have been a bit pre-occupied to have these discussions.

The story moves along at a good pace and makes for an enjoyable read. Without giving anything away I did not agree with the very last bit of the ending. That for me was just one step to far but possibly a requirement for any future ‘ Marksmen’ comics. In case you are wondering the Marksmen of the title are soldiers of NSD. Why they are called Marksmen is not clear but probably not relevant neither.

Andy Whitaker

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This book has 129 votes in the sci-fi charts

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