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Earp: Saints for Sinners #3… 8.5 Rating

Review by Lee Stone

Wyatt Earp, the famed U.S. Marshal that served from 2013 to 2030 has decided to retire and open up a casino, The AOK, in Vegas. Along with his brother, Morgan, Doc Holiday and Kate (Doc’s girlfriend), Wyatt has settled for a more peaceful life.

If that last paragraph threw you a curve ball, it’s understandable. The premise behind Radical Comics’ SAINTS FOR SINNERS is both a benefit and a drawback. The comic takes the Earp clan and supplants them into a near-future tale of crime and vengeance.

The story opens shortly after what appears to have been an attack on The AOK. As the survivors are making their escape we get filled in on what’s transpired in the last month to lead up to the assault. Much of the issue happens before the opening scene with us coming back at the end to find our cast making a startling discovery, a result of the backstory we see unfold.

Josephine, a lounge singer for Wyatt’s competitor, Dan Flynn, has come to him for help. Of course, she brings with her the trouble that you would expect from that arrangement but she also tends to be a bit of a loose cannon. Oh, and she’s the ex-girlfriend of Jesse James, a modern day Robin Hood. With all these red flags you would assume that Wyatt would do what’s best. Or would he?

Meanwhile, there’s trouble at home as Morgan begins to see things differently than Wyatt and makes a fateful decision of his own.
The art in SAINTS FOR SINNERS is probably its biggest draw. If there was ever a distinction between “comic book” and “graphic novel”, this could be used to describe the latter. Sound effects are sparse and appear to be used only when their absence would make it hard to understand what’s going on. I’m not usually a fan of ultra-realistic comic art because it tends to come off rather stiff, with no movement. However, in a couple of scenes, the truck heist in particular, Lorimer and Shin manage to convey the action quite well without it feeling like you’re looking at a series of still-lifes. Every panel is well executed and it plays out like a painted pulp novel. Looking at the art, from the close-up shots to the gun standoff, you can tell that they are great artists and the genre of crime fiction suits them perfectly.

As for the writing, I felt that the story progressed nicely. Cirulnick and Sherman did a good job of filling us in and setting the characters in place for what will be coming next issue. Although… I think that it could have been told even better with brand new characters instead of borrowing from the Earp mythos. If you go through and rename the characters it actually reads like a well-written post-modern action adventure. Using the Earp names, I think, lessens it to more of a novelty item which undermines the good story potential that is found here. On the flipside, using those characters garners more attention from readers who normally don’t buy comics.

That being said, I believe that this is a great stepping stone for all those involved and I would love to see what they produce next. Unfortunately, if it doesn’t borrow from an established mythos, like EARP does, it may pass below the radar, which would be sad because there’s some real talent here.

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