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Mark of Power: 1 (Sigil) Paperback – 1 Apr 2002
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Top customer reviews
I've wasted my money on this book. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, there is no real characterisation in this story, no real conflict beyond a chase even the writer seems disinterested in, not much plot and definitely no theme. The idea - that a man is given a mark that will bestow upon him great power so that he may mix it up for the whimsy of gods - is relatively interesting - it is in the Carey/Kirk take - but beyond 2 or 3 opening pages, the idea is not touched on again. Instead, we get a pointless chase stretched out over 7 1/2 issues with little to no insight into the main character, Sam. Sam could be modeled on Marvel's Cable, an aging, grumpy, hardened man of action thrust into circumstances his slightly ambiguous morality demands he finds a solution for, or he could be modeled on Han Solo. Either way, it's not too much of a leap to assume that kind of character is his template, but unless you're aware of that you're unlikely to find anything in him to latch on to. He's kind of like a sponge, and the idea of that kind of character is a pool of water. You know the purpose behind the sponge, but the writer, Barbara Kesel, hasn't presented you with a sponge that's soaked up familiar traits, merely with a blank sponge. It's ironic that between issues there are summaries and interviews with the creators about turning the sci-fi elements on their heads and examining the conventions and presenting them in new light, because Kesel's attempt to change it up hasn't worked, and it's obvious. Roiya, Sam's best friend, was intended to be the hero of the first part of the story, yet from the outset, she's not the main character, yet she's more interesting than he is.
Anyway, I've wasted too much time on this review and this book already. The plot is thinner than paper, the conflict is dull, there is no theme, the characterisation is almost non-existant (don't get me started on the other characters) and the only thing that's good is the bold pin-up artwork and that's IF you like pin-up artwork, which is usually not particularly good at telling a story.
Forget this and either read or re-read the Carey and Kirk 4-issue mini, because that is terrific and an example of everything this is not.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Anfd the greater mystery will keep you coming back. Mark Waid's sequel to this book is equally fantastic.
The story of this series focuses on Sam Rey, an over the hill mercenary, who is one day gifted tremendous power in the form of a sigil on his chest. This power makes him a target for two warring empires as well as the ruler of a neutral world. Sam is joined in his adventures by his heroic partner Roiya, the runaway bride Zanniati, and the skirt chasing JeMerik. In the hunt for his power are a reptilian alien warlord affectionately nicknamed "Idiot" who suffers for massive anger management issues, the leaders of a human led empire who are desperate to gain an advantage against the reptiles, and the sultan of a neutral world who is after Zanniati who escaped from his harem.
The overall plot of this volume is relatively straight forward, introducing the cast and world and setting the first sequence of events in motion. In this case it is Sam gaining his new powers and going a few rounds with his numerous pursuers. This volume is pretty action heavy with the writers choosing the show instead of tell about the books world.
The art of this series is pretty good quality overall, albeit it is heavy with the post-90s cluttered style that dominated comics of the time. My only real complaint about the books art was that the characters Sam and JeMerik look to similar at times.
Perhaps this series biggest flaw is the fact that the company that made it went under after only a couple years making it hard to find good quality issues today.
Overall I found the book to be pretty easy to pick up and understand, with enough depth lurking there to get me interested in what happens next.