Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Marquis Vol. 1 Inferno

by Guy Davis

I have been a fan of Guy Davis's work since I first came across it in the pages of Sandman Mystery Theatre, the excellent Vertigo series that followed the early career of the Golden Age Sandman.  I've also found a great deal of enjoyment from Davis's work with B.P.R.D., but I had never read his solo work, The Marquis.

To be completely honest, I was disappointed.  I had pretty high hopes for this book, because the concept sounded terrific.  Set in an alternate history in a fictional city in 18th Century France, the Church has taken over most aspects of society.  There is an almost fetishistic obsession with confession, and Inquisitors run the show.  This city, Venisalle, has been overrun with demons who are inhabiting the bodies of the citizens.

One elderly man has the ability to see these demons for what they really are, and the ability to dispatch them back to hell.  He takes on the guise of The Marquis, a masked and cloaked figure armed with very special firearms and a sword, and he tracks them down, gaining the attention of the Inquisition at the same time.

It should be really cool, right?  Especially given Davis's incredible artistic skills, and penchant for creating incredibly bizarre creatures.  The problem is that the first story, Danse Macabre, which takes up most of this book, is in fact pretty dull.  The two subsequent stories, 'Hell's Courtesan' and 'A Sin of One' are much better though, and by the time I finished this volume, I was wishing there was more to read.

Davis worked on these comics over many years, and it's clear that over that time, he learned much about the craft of writing comics.  I would not hesitate to pick up a new Guy Davis-written comic (especially if he drew it), but I can't really recommend this book.

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