Marksmen, written by Dave Elliott and David Baxter, is a rather unimpressive comic. The general post-apocalyptic setting is somewhat interesting, but if you think about it for even a second it immediately defies belief. While it is nice they have a heavy hitter in Vernor Vinge giving the afterword, there is a reason he does little more than touch on the story: because it is terribly written and boringly illustrated.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic United States of America that has collapsed as a result of an over consumption and peak oil. The only cities left that make an appearance are New San Diego and Lone Star. New San Diego is a science and technology-based city and Lone Star is a faith and oil-based city. Lone Star is finally running out of oil and wants to take the technology from New San Diego to keep their society running.
The main character attempting to stop them is one Drake McCoy, or “Ulysses” as he’s known to his fellow soldiers. As the story begins, Drake is on his own out in Arizona hunting for technology. He’s quickly set upon by some incredibly muscular cannibals (they must be getting lots to eat!) and looks to be in a bad way, before he is saved by and meets some refugees fleeing from Lone Star to New San Diego. Drake accompanies them back to his home city, denizens of Lone Star hot on their tail.
Unfortunately the art by Baxter is not any better. Baxter’s characters are all built like superheroes posing like Roman statues while fighting. It’s utterly absurd. The male characters even have individual abdominal muscle plates. One scale for each member of the six pack. His backgrounds and non-human drawings are decent and, in some instances, add a nice amount of scale and heft to some of the battles and scenes. But, overall, it is forgettable, just like the story, which has a host of derivative and predictable twists and turns, and the work as a whole. Only academic libraries that are post-apocalyptic completists need apply. Everyone else would be better off picking up other Image Comics sci-fi titles that push boundaries, like Pax Romana.
Marksmen, volume 1
by David Baxter, Dave Elliott
Art by Dave Baxter, Javier Aranda
Image Comics, 2012