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Royal Reviews: Marksmen #1

A brand new, high energy series debuts from Image, and speculates about the country's future. 



Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:


Release Date: 7/20/2011
Writer :  David Baxter - Dave Elliot
Artist :  Javier Aranda - Garry Leach - Jessica Kholine
Manufacturer / Publisher : Image
Diamond code : MAY110435
UPC : 70985301066100100

Sixty years ago the oil ran out and debts were called in. Civil war followed that splintered America into warring fiefdoms. New San Diego is a technocratic utopia that offers the last bastion of peace and prosperity, provided you live within its walls. Drake McCoy is its best protector. McCoy, an expert marksman, defends the city from the numerous threats in the wasteland outside the walls. But when the oil rich Lone Star state sends a powerful army to steal New San Diego's energy technology, even Drake's leadership and skill may not be enough to fend off the siege.



Review:


Peak oil is the term given to the notion that at some point, the amount of usable oil will reach (or already has reached) its apex and from that point on, the amount of oil production in the world will necessarily decrease (oil being so finite and all).  The international Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) contends that "the peak of oil discovery was passed in the 1960s, and the world started using more than was found in new fields in 1981. The gap between discovery and production has widened since. Many countries, including some important producers, have already passed their peak, suggesting that the world peak of production is now imminent." Other scholars, using different methodologies, believe the Peak was reached in the mid-2000's, and some see the Peak ocurring in 2011. 

The consumption of non-renewable energy resources, along with religious strife, technology use, political discontent, and economic collapses are all on the mind of writers David Baxter and Dave Elliot as they write Marksmen #1 (or maybe it's Marksman #1.  Depends on which promotional material you're looking at).  As the text piece at the front of the issue tells us, the story takes place decades after all the oil there is to be drilled for has been found, which accounts for the US becoming completely fragmented and antagonistic.  As a result, a war over resources has broken out, leading to a post-apocalyptic existence for many that, in a neat twist, came about entirely because of internal factors, rather than an invasion from outside elements.  Marksmen #1 focuses on the contrasts between two cities, the technologically advanced New San Diego and the oil-hoarding Lone Star, who are about to go to war with each other. 

In Marksmen #1, Baxter and Elliot contemplate the future of the US as a country laid to ruin by the dearth of consumable oil, with entire civilizations cut off from one another and left to fend for themselves in a landscape that is as vast as it is perilous.  Javier Aranda renders this tough dusty new world visually in terms of large expanses and gritty hideouts.  The storytelling is great and his figure work is impressive.  There are some problems when characters interact physically, which is most problematic during the many fight scenes, but the artwork is clear and effective.

In giving a glimpse of our possible future, Baxter and Elliot are postulating about our nature. While this particular situation remains far fetched, Marksmen #1 depicts our future as a literal culture war, and in doing so creates a portrait of humanity that does feel relatable and plausible. Post-apocalypse stories frequently focus on the human issue, and Marksmen #1 is a human story as much as it is anything else. As a work of speculative fiction, it does a fine job of extrapolating current issues and projecting a possible near future.





Review by: Royal Nonesuch
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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch


As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
 

 


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