Hell has come to the city of Venisalle, and damned souls walk among the living hidden in plain sight through the bodies of those they possess. However, despite all their infernal strength they live in fear of The Marquis, the one man who has the power to banish them back to hell. However, the mantle of Marquis weighs heavily upon the man who holds it, and he has far more enemies than the damned. The Ministry, the Church that rules Venisalle with an iron fist, hunts the Marquis to punish him as a heretic and murderer.
The Marquis is the brainchild of Guy Davis, who also does all of the comic's writing and illustration. The plot focuses on Vol de Galle, a seasoned military veteran and Ministerial Inquisitor who is granted the mantle of Marquis, and with it the ability to see the damned souls possessing the people of Venisalle, after a Crisis of Faith. Strikingly illustrated in black and white and compellingly written, The Marquis delves into questions of sin, guilt, punishment, and redemption within the bleak, gothic city of Venisalle.
Tropes relating to The Marquis
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Vol's primary weapon is an enchanted sword capable of banishing the damned back to hell that is also perfectly capable of slicing a musket clean in two.
- Affably Evil: At least one damned soul, "The Bookworm", made no attempt to hide from or fight Vol, instead humbly asking to be left in peace to read. Mind this was still a soul condemned to hell for unspecified sins who had possessed a presumably innocent man. The Lord de Diables counts as well, being perfectly content to chat with Vol rather than subject him to the horrors of hell.
- Anti-Hero: Vol is a Type III, verging into Type IV. While the creatures he hunts are already-damned souls, his unwillingness to extend mercy to either the damned or to the non-possessed humans who oppose him betrays his darker character.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Not necessarily "evil", but Venisalle's upper-crust is shown to be extremely callous and decadent, all while keeping a facade of piety.
- Body Horror: How the souls of the damned actually manifest in those they possess as revealed by the powers of the Marquis.
- Corrupt Church: The Ministry is horribly abusive in their power over Venisalle, all the while flaunting the same sins they haul people before their Inquisition for.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Ministry is based heavily upon Roman Catholicism, with several characters even referencing a "Pope Sovereign". However, unlike Catholicism the main focus of The Ministry is the veneration of saints, even above the Messiah figure of the Church's religion.
- Devil, but No God: Hell and the Lord Des Diables are confirmed to exist, but no such guarantee goes for The Saints
- Empowered Badass Normal: Vol was already a formidable man before assuming the mantle of Marquis, and now he has not only the power to see the possessed, but also dispel them with his sword while also having the strength and stamina to fight evenly with the infernal.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Venisalle is pretty blatantly based on late-18th century France, complete with oppressive gothic architecture, an omnipresent Church, and a disgustingly corrupt and decadent aristocracy.
- Four-Star Badass: General Herzoge is the Commander-in-Chief of Venisalle's gendarmerie, and is the only non-possessed human to give Vol a serious challenge.
- Male Frontal Nudity: All over the place, and all of it played for disturbing effect. Of particular note is the Lord de Diables' horse-genitals cravat.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Part of Vol's tools as the Marquis are a pair of enchanted pepperbox revolvers. However, instead of being the primitive repeating pistols they seem to operate more closely to handheld rotary machine guns, laying down way more firepower than should be possible.
- Splash of Color: Vol's time in hell is inked in full color rather than the black-and-white style of the rest of the comic.
- The Theocracy: The Ministry is the supreme authority in Venisalle, with even General Herzoge answering to the High Inquisitor. This may even extend to the rest of the world given the references to the "Pope Sovereign" and his granting full civil authority to the Church.