Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill
DC Comics

They say I don’t pray for my enemy
I do.
I pray they go to Hell

I remember reading the original Marshal Law comics back in the late 80’s. The punk scene and strange party all the time attitude of the decade was waning and here was a comic that seemed to reflect that, and dealt with it with over the top violence and black humor and parody. I’m a fan of super hero comics and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I do also admit that there are an awful lot of comics that have been written over the years that are just goofy and ripe for parody. Marshal Law came along at just the right time for me and I loved every page I could get my hands on.

And now it’s all here in one nice big deluxe hard cover. I just read it again and I think I actually love it more. Here’s the breakdown for the uninitiated, it’s the future, San Francisco had a major catastrophe and has been rebuilt and renamed San Futuro. The old part of the city has been left to rot. Super Heroes were created by the government using science to fight wars, the wars are over and the super heroes need something to do. They mostly cause problems and when they do there is a man working out of a special bunker who is there to stop them, Marshal Law. He too was fighting wars for his government after being “altered”. He wears a mask and a costume with “Fear and Loathing” emblazoned across the front, he carries ridiculously huge guns and does whatever he needs to do to stop the supers when they go off the rails.

pretty typical page from the book, all awesome

The first story arc involves a series of murders, women dressed as a super hero named “Celeste” are being killed by a killed dubbed The Sleepman. Marshal Law is hunting him and comes to the conclusion it has to be the world’s greatest most loved hero, The Public Spirit. The case is go and we follow our anti-hero though the murky waters of the future as he tracks down the killer while we run across various take offs of DC characters. From there we have a group of heroes in a psych ward go off the rails (and they all look suspiciously like Marvel characters) and ML goes in to clean up, dead heroes come back to life and ML fights zombies, we end with a great story which is a riff on Alien with a take on the Legion of Superheroes which is loads of fun.

This is not for kids, there is nudity, swearing and loads of violence. It is however 20 gallons of fun in a 5 gallon bucket for anyone who has ever enjoyed a superhero comic. Cynical and funny and over the top. And the art work! I love Kevin O’Neil’s work on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a lot, but this is my favorite stuff by him. There are so many little easter eggs hidden here you need to look at every inch of every page. Giant guns that say “Prey For Me” on the side, the crazy signs all over town, the funny tombstones. It just never lets up.

This is a book that will get read over and over in this house and this a must have for anyone building a comics library of their own. Yes, I think it is an important comic, but more importantly, this is a FUN comic.