Earp: Saints for Sinners #3 (Radical Comics)

This futuristic Western has a fascinating premise that devolves all too quickly into run-of-the-mill action-adventure.

 

28 pgs., color; $3.50
(W: M. Zachary Sherman; A: Colin Lorimer)
 
I like the concept more than the execution in the Radical Comics series Earp: Saints for Sinners, created by Matt Cirulnick and David Manpearl. The set-up is that America ca. 2030 is like a cross between the Wild West and Mad Max with a dash of Metropolis in the gleaming skyscrapers of the cities as well. Cash rules the day as cybercrime has made electronic commerce impossible and America is beset with gangs of outlaws including one led by Jesse James, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but only after taking his cut. Wyatt Earp has retired from duty as a U.S. Marshall and is running a casino in Las Vegas, competing with the Flynn Casino, run by the mayor of Las Vegas.
 
The problem I have with this comic is that the authors seem bent on turning a fascinating premise into a run-of-the mill action-adventure film—oops, I mean comic, but not really oops because this is one of the Radical series which seems most obviously designed as a film pitch rather than as a comic in its own right. I’ll bet it will make a fun film, I just wish it worked a little better as a comic.
 
Issue #3 (of 4) is sort of like the series as a whole: not bad but not great either. Story-wise, Morgan Earp goes over to the dark side (at least temporarily) and a woman appears in Wyatt’s life, while Wyatt’s rivalry with Mayor Flynn (as an ex-Bostonian, I’m stifling a smirk right now) heats up and there’s lots of explosions and CGI-ready set pieces. The comic jumps back and forth in time a lot, which gets annoying, and a lot of the dialogue is pretty heavy-handed in the exposition department. Concern with storytelling gets thrown out the window from time to time in order to throw in static frames which look almost like parodies of movie posters—there a sex-pose scene in particular which must be seen to be appreciated. But it’s all sort of fun as well, and this issue ends with quite a punch which has me eager to read the final issue.
 
Colin Lorimer’s art for Earp is in Radical’s semi-realistic, fully-painted style, and like the rest of the comic, it works fairly well without being really distinctive. The frames have a static feel—just think of them as colored storyboards—and the human figures feel like they’re just a step or two away from being photo references. On the plus side, there are some cool layered effects and the predominantly brown palette sets a mood which is appropriate to the story. You can see a preview here: http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/previews/marvel-previews/13384.html. | Sarah Boslaugh

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