Marksmen #2

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
The civilized Marksmen engage in a battle against the religiously-minded outlanders. Will six-shooters and other primative weapons surpass the technology the Marksmen possess? Ah, no.

I really want to get involved in this series, but right now, it still reads like a '90s post-apocalypse movie from Roger Corman. The dialogue is pretty limp, but the right actors could pump up the words. Unfortunately, unknowns comprise the cast of Marksmen and none stand out. The only bright spot in the script occurs when Ulysses' parents talk about getting intimate. It's one of the few times these characters seem human. Ulysses is the team leader of the Marksmen, but will his loyalties split once he discovers the identity of his real father? Can't say that I care.

The cinematography (read: art) is beautiful, but it's kind of low-budget, with little imagination involved in the construction of the desolate planet or country. Mind you, the artists could have been waiting for the unveiling of the desert aircraft carrier spanning the final two pages of the chapter, but that's still kind of "eh." It's like Corman struck a deal with a used aircraft carrier salesman and just threw it in. How did these yahoos exactly retrieve this thing anyhow?

The plot to Marksmen could have been really interesting, pitting science against superstition, but the writers back away from that. They paint Duke the leader of the outlanders as a sort of Jim Jones in cowboy garb. Duke's perfectly willing to let his followers die to prove a point, but unlike Jones, he's not drinking the Kool-Aid himself.

What am I looking for in Marksmen? I don't know. There's something missing. Maybe, it's the stakes. I don't know if the people in the city are worth saving or not. The fact that Ulysses' group kills unarmed men who raise their hands in surrender muddies any heroism they may claim. In fact, I just saw a spaghetti western, Hands Up Dead Man, where the Union Captain kills bandaged and battered Rebs that clearly were waving the white flag. The Captain was the villain, not the Reb medic played by Peter Lee Lawrence.

I'm having a difficult time rooting for any side in Marksmen. Do I support the dumbasses with the sophisticated machinery that beat each other up in their spare time? Do I support the religious lunatics led by a hypocrite out to gain power? I like the dog.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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