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Marshal Law #1

Written by Cat-Scratch on Monday, November 30 2009 and posted in Reviews
1catsratchlogo.jpg For this time around,
it's Marshal Law issue #1
from Marvel's Epic Comics imprint.

marshal_law_01_-_00_-_fc.jpgMarshal Law issue #1.
Published by Epic Comics in 1987.
Story Written by Pat Mills
Drawn by Kevin O'Neill

The Story :
"Stars And Strippers"

Set in the future city of San Futuro, a city that is plagued with super-heroes gone rampant. Here, the super-heroes had been manufactured as super soldiers for a war and when they had been returned to the city, post war, they became murderous vigilantes, violently defying the law. A costumed woman is being terrorized and then finally murdered by a dark figure calling himself a super-hero called the Sleepman. Her body is cast down off of a tall building by the Sleepman, it enters the home of a destitute hero called The Nearly Man by plunging through the ceiling. He then tries to hide her body, so as not to be accused of the crime, but is caught doing so by a gang of vigilante super-heroes. They choose to lynch him for the supposed crime, but are stopped by Marshal Law. Marshal Law is a cop in mask and costume himself, but whom is best know for hating the so-called "heroes" and for killing them more often then actually arresting them. He drives them away from then scene and is then shown the woman's body by Nearly Man. He calls in a pick up
for the vitim and heads off to his secret precinct, after dropping off Nearly Man at a shelter. He brings in a hero he had earlier arrested, turning the "hero" over to his giant partner Kiloton. He reports to his superior via video conference. Suggesting that the most famous of the legitimate heroes, The Public Spirit, is most likely the Sleepman. As he's been described as being able to fly, A rare ability among heroes, it seems to be likely to the Marshal. Describing the Sleepman as a serial killer, due to his killing women dressed like the super-heroine called Virago as the pattern apparent. The Marshal's superior is not pleased due to the politics involved with this allegation. The gang of heroes that had earlier been dealt with by the Marshal are now attempting to assault the Marshal's secret precinct, having been found by them, but they are quickly repelled by both the Marshal and his partner Kiloton.


Marshal Law handing over an arrest of his to his partner Kiloton.

The Review :

This was an interesting reread after the years passed. I had originally read it back
in the late 80s, when it was originally a hand off to me from a friend and then later
in the collected trade. Filled with satire and nudity, it was not for the more brightly
attitude sorts.

The story is a cliched one for most 80s comics of the time. Like most then, it shows
a dark Distopian view of the future. I found it dark and a little stiff in reading, as it
truly was just a first chapter in a larger story. The dialog works well with the art in my
opinion, but there wasn't much of a grab for me with this one story alone.

I found the artwork was rough, crude and some what rude for the time, but now
perhaps, a little tame for these days audience. I thought it worked well with the
roughness of the story as well as for the surreal nature of the whole story. It does
it's job in it's tones in providing a harsh dark future filled with bleakness. I kind of
liked it for this quality.

As a whole, I found that I preferred reading the collection compared to the solo issue
here. I believe it holds up to some small degree, but it's 80s roots shows through.
Basically it's a rather dark murder mystery involving manufactured super-heroes turned
crazy war vets let loose on society with one of them becoming a serial killer. The main
character pf Marshal Law was flat but one of the best rounded of them all presented.
If you liked Lobo, you'll enjoy this series/graphic novel. I recommend getting and
reading the whole series in it's collected form instead of this single issue, I found it a
far more satisfying read in that form. The story is not at all bad for a formula one and
I think the artwork worked rather well with it to convey the atmosphere of the time it's
set in. So as a single issue, I suggest a pass on it, but I'd think about checking out
the collected trade instead for the whole, which is far better and satisfying.

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