cover image Marshall Law: The Deluxe Edition

Marshall Law: The Deluxe Edition

Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill. DC Comics, $49.99, (480p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3855-1

Bullets fly and bodies splatter in this collection of writer Mills and artist O'Neill's (League of Ex-traordinary Gentlemen) late-1980s satiric cult series, which does Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 inversion (the fireman who starts fires) one better with the title character being not a hero but a hero-hunter. The setting of an earthquake-ravaged and gang-infested future San Francisco (now called San Futuro), crawling with butchers and psychopaths, will be familiar to fans of contemporary urban dystopias like Frank Miller's Ronin and Judge Dredd, the latter of which both Mills and O'Neill worked on. Law himself is a sarcastic dispenser of deadly justice, which really just boils down to one thing: he hates superheroes. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek psychoanalysis here, with Law's bondage-style outfit played against the sadomasochistic traumas of the heroes he now hunts down. Like Law, the "surps" were engineered creatures bred to fight a savage war in South America, now cashiered out and wreak-ing havoc. While Mills's anti-imperialist edge and highly specific deconstruction of the psychotic na-ture of many DC heroes is welcome, the grinding ultraviolence becomes wearisome and, by the end of its exhausted run, verging on hypocritical. (May)