COMIC REVIEW: Mars Attacks #1

This year being the 50th anniversary and all, IDW is bringing back Mars Attacks, the franchise that’s had trading cards in the 60′s, a movie in the 90′s, and other products throughout its run. Can this newest incarnation bring back some of the greatness and fun that was a trademark of other installments of the franchise? In this one-shot first issue, we follow Zar the Martian, the first to make contact with Earth, and start to find out.

The first couple of pages are all about telling us how Zar will one day come to destroy the Earth, but just not today. Today is just not Zar’s day, we come to find. The today that they speak of is in 1962, and Zar has crash landed on Earth, only to be picked up and assaulted by a couple of rednecks. Then, we cut to outer space and see the reason for Zar’s crash landing: his ship hit an orbiting American spacecraft. We then see where the rednecks, Burtie and Rolly took Zar: to be sold to the freak show at the carnival. After Burtie attempts to release Zar and is killed by the ringmaster, Zar is released and framed for Burtie’s murder. Of course, the rednecks being rednecks, most have guns in their trucks, and a firefight between Zar’s crewmen, who conveniently show up, and the Earthlings ensues. Zar survives, and vows vengeance on the planet.

I am a huge fan of John Layman. His work on Chew is just great. He works does well again with Zar, the Martian and Mars Attacks. You feel bad for Zar, even though he is the bad guy, the one who will eventually rain destruction down upon the planet Earth. He’s treated to the worst that the human race has to offer, and is only narrowly saved by his buddies. Layman just makes this story one that makes you smile while you read it, but it’s also one that’s well-written. Even though half of the characters don’t speak English (including some of the rednecks), you still feel for them and are invested in the character. The dynamic between them is also fun to watch. Overall, John Layman writes a fun, great story, for something that easily could’ve came off as campy and not worth a read.

The art was surprisingly good. John McCrea’s style fits the story so well. It compliments Layman’s crazy storytelling perfectly, and adds a little something to the overall feel of the comic. It lends well to the humor and ridiculousness of the whole situation. The lines are clean, the art wonderful, and it’s an awesome compliment to the writing.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this comic. Maybe not something I would’ve picked up had I just seen it in the store, I liked this a lot. I would recommend it to any fans of the franchise, and also people who enjoy stories that just make you smile and feel good by the end of the book. While not the best, it’s a good read, and a promising start to a series.

GS Rating: 3.5/5

Gs Reviewer: Leo Johnson

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