ATTACK OF THE MARAUDERS
Writer: Iqbal Ali
Illustrator: Priscilla Grippa
Letterer: Ken Reynolds
WHAT IS IT?
Attack of the Marauders feels a lot like '70s sci-fi injected with contemporary political allegory. It’s a dramatic story filled with commentary on the perception of media and words.
It feels equal parts V for Vendetta and Logan’s Run.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Joshua Miller lives on an island surrounded by news towers and is constantly connected to the Feed — a social media platform where everyone is connected all the time. His father, Jerome, is a decorated war hero. For years, he defended his home from the Marauders, a savage group that lives just beyond the island’s walls.
One day, as Joshua and Jerome stroll through the city, Jerome seemingly voluntarily transforms into a marauder, escaping through a crack in the city’s walls. Desperate to understand what has happened to his father, Joshua treks over to the Marauder’s home, where he discovers far more than he ever bargained for.
The story is thematically political in that it’s extremely fascinated with the way we perceive other human beings in an era of 24-hour news cycles and perpetual connectivity via social media. It’s an ambitious theme, but it’s one that feels very subtle until it’s appropriate to make it very clear. I have reviewed a lot of indie books, this one is probably the best one at utilizing its theme correctly so far.
The writing is pretty strong. There’s a couple of spots that feel clunky, but for the most part, its dialogue is good and its pacing is great.
The build to the climax is super-good. It feels really dramatic and the tension is heightened, you’re filled with dread and the inevitability of what’s about to occur and that’s fantastic work.
Speaking of the climax, there’s some really great juxtaposing of images in the middle of it. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but what a brilliant use of visual imagery at the peak of your story.
The artwork is consistently solid. Working in grayscale leaves any potential errors ripe for the picking, but there are few problems here.
Love the design of the Marauders. It feels more like a tear in the page than anything else and I think that’s brilliant in and of itself.
The big Revelation scene has some super trippy artwork that also feels very poignant and symbolic. Loved it!
The imagery of the news towers, plastered with headlines, feels so perfect for what this story is trying to get across.
The differences in lettering choices between English/Marauder really sells the point between their perceived differences as two “peoples.”
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
I think the “look in the mirror” thing was a little too literal. The book handles its subtext remarkably well for most of the book, but that particular plot point feels like a hiccup in that venture.
Sometimes the emotional close-ups on characters feel a little rigid.
A book steeped in symbolism and thematic purpose should also be careful of the imagery it uses. It’s difficult to deep dive into this point without spoilers, but suffice to say this: if people are capable of change in your plot, then why present anyone with the iconography of the Devil? Characters that are capable of change, I’d say, shouldn’t be presented as the literal incarnation of evil. That seems like a hard misstep.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Attack of the Marauders is poignant and powerful. It has something real to say and says it mostly well. Despite being constructed around political, cultural, and social themes, the book never seems to lose sight of what it’s doing: telling a story. The characters are heartfelt, the plot is dramatic, and the book is just overall solid.
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