Marshal: Tranquility #1, April 2006, Dabel Brothers Productions
writer: Bill Tortolini with Andrew LoVuolo
artist: Abdul Rashid
letterer: Simon Bowland
editor: Sean J. Jordan
With the emphasis on law enforcement in the news today, thanks in large part to Paris Hilton's incarceration, I thought that a comic book called Marshal would be timely, if not insightful. I certainly didn't expect to read a futuristic western! Paris wouldn't last five minutes on a new world colony lightyears from Earth, especially one in which the government is corrupt, the streets are lawless, and the culture has plateaued in an Old West era. Then again, did cowboys need a licence to ride horses or drive buggies? Paris might be right at home . . .
Still, Marshal already boasts one strong female character, a bounty hunter that finds herself caught between the treachery of the mob and the heroism of Marshal himself, who, like Dynamite Entertainment's current interpretation of the Lone Ranger, is the orphan of this "new Earth's" last peacekeeper. Marshal is rough around the edges but his determination is admirable and, he hopes, contagious -- like Batman, he has vowed to rid his town of the kind of evil that took his father's life, but unlike Batman, he readily admits that he cannot do it alone. Yes, in two sentences I've managed to compare this series' title character to just as many comic book icons, because, at least in this inaugural issue, Marshal is less of a developed character and more of an established archetype, and, further, this story is predictable and unfortunately rife with cliches. Fortunately, the action throughout this issue is enough to entertain, which is sometimes just enough.
A quick word about the art, about which I initially felt indifferent until I saw the pin-up on this issue's back cover, which I liked more so than the interiors until I realized they were both by the same artist, Rashid. The style of this pin-up is completely different and much easier on the eye. Why didn't you use these pens on the inside, man?!
So, folks have been talking about Paris' twenty-three day prison term as if she's been abandoned on a planet lightyears from here, as I implied earlier. You want abandonment and injustice, you see Marshal. You want a simple life . . . well, you know where to find that.