The Deadmen
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Paul Burgess (left) and Ichi Kemoatu (right), the main characters of The Deadmen.

When enemies of the people go unpunished, where the laws of men fail to bring justice — the Core Systems Field Adjudication Office is called in. Their domain is not the courtroom, but spans the heights of Republic society to the deepest depths of its criminal underworld. Their agents are free to act as necessary, without let or hindrance, because the laws of men do not apply to the dead.

Starting in Graffitomag #82 of 2492, the graphic novel series The Deadmen by Luther Hammett posited the existence of a fictional branch of the Core Systems Free Republic government that existed only to eliminate criminals who eluded justice by any means necessary. These extrajudicial killings are committed by Deadmen - as their name would indicate, individuals who are legally dead, taken in by the FAO and trained to be killers.

The story's main focus is on newly-inducted Deadman Paul Burgess, a man who was killed in a traffic accident that destroyed his heart. He was revived at the facilities of the Field Adjudication Office - after being declared legally dead by a coroner, death certificate and all - where he learned that because of his 'innate talents' (which would be hinted at for many issues), he was being watched for consideration of inclusion. The plot follows Burgess's unwilling participation in the Deadmen program, as well as his rocky partnership with veteran Ichi Kemoatu as they hunt the enemies of the Republic. Significant events in the series have included Burgess's rebellious effort to return to his family, the royal clusterfucking of an operation into Spartan space (this at the height of the Core Systems-Spartan War, and the second 'death' of Kemoatu. The series accrued considerable praise from both graphic novel fans and art critics due to Hammett's visually distinctive style and tense, symbolic writing.

Burgess begins the series unable to cope with the fact that though he survived the accident - in some senses - he can't return to the life he once led, and lashes out at his new masters and handlers with bitter and futile resistance. Throughout the course of the series, he progresses from uncooperative, coerced bystander through actively disobedient renegade and sullen, unenthusiastic assistant to cooperative yet self-centered soldier. Meanwhile, Kemoatu has accepted his fate with composure, even gusto, yet in some ways has lost an vital part of himself in doing so. Most often it results in gallows humor or callous bloodshed (or both), but on occasion he allows Burgess and others to glimpse the essential sadness of his being.

TitanCore Entertainment made a bid to produce a series based on the graphic novels, but Hammett turned it down citing grave misgivings over the integrity of the production.

Hammett has recently spun off the Deadmen comic into a new series, Deadmen Tales, about the founding and early operations of the Field Adjudication Office. The primary focus of this series revolves around legendary agent (and infrequent character in the main series) 'Aught Cyphre'.

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