Review: ‘Mars Attacks: The Holidays’

MarsAttack_TheHolidays_CvrA_MOCKONLY

With a parade of quirky visual gags, Mars Attacks: The Holidays is a hilarious collection of sci-fi comedy short tales. The Martian invaders are spreading chaos and mayhem over the beloved holiday season. Humanity will not back down and let their earth be taken over by the space aliens. For pure escapism and fantasy, the fun and excitement within these pages is highly contagious.

WRITTEN BY: Fred Hembeck, Bill Morrison, Ian Boothby, Dean Haspiel
ART BY: Fred Hembeck, Tone Rodriguez, Alan Robinson, Dean Haspiel
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASE: October 31st, 2012

In Fred Hembeck’s “All Hallow’s Steve,” two brothers, Steve and Ricky, are walking aimlessly around their neighborhood for candy. The two never realize they are being followed by real Martian scouts. They all arrive at a Halloween party, where the Martians end up confronting numerous teens in costumes, pretending to be Dracula, Napoleon, and Elvis Presley. Hembeck delivers the hilarious one-liners as well the visual puns. When the brothers realize there are actual aliens crashing their party, the Elvis Presley- wannabe is the first one fighting the extraterrestrials, beating them up with his wooden guitar. Ricky is supposed to look like The Flintstones’ character, The Great Gazoo. It just looks completely wrong and hilarious at the same time, when Ricky, as the Great Gazoo, is choking the Martian with a pillow.

In Bill Morrison’s “The Man Who Cried, ‘Martian,'” an old man recounts to his grandson what happened years ago when the Martians arrived. In order to test humanity’s reactions, the space invaders forced Orson Welles to put on a fake radio show about a hostile invasion in New Jersey. While the rest of the world realized the show was supposedly a hoax, the real invasion was actually happening. After discovering the alien spaceship in the woods, brave veterans from three wars gather together their guns to put a stop to the invasion. Through hairstyles and clothing, Morrison’s character designs is a nostalgic reminder of the ’50s. The original War of the Worlds is used as a reference when the soldiers start attacking the Martians and stealing their weapons.

In Ian Boothby/Art Robinson’s “Thanksgiving,” the alien invasion occurs right in front of the millions of eyes watching the holiday parade. Because a scientist predicted this invasion happening, all the parade floats suddenly come to life. This is a very charming and humorous spoof, using iconic figures of popular culture to attack the Martians. Robinson recreates television moments, while putting Martians in their place, such as when Bart Simpson is being strangled by an alien spaceship. After Bart’s head pops out of his robotic body, Bullwinkle jumps in and locks his horns into the spaceships.

The most serious and the best of the tales is Dean Haspiel’s ” Mars Attacks Christmas.” Haspiel plays off of the WWI urban legend, though many say true story, when the British and German troops called a truce, a momentary ceasefire, on Christmas day. During the war between Martians and humans, both sides call for a truce on Christmas. The survivors mourn their dead, and the Martians carry their fallen comrades away. The rebel fighters and Martians join together in peaceful harmony singing “Silent Night.” Haspiel kicks in the sadness as Christmas is over and war continues the next day.

Campiness at its best, “Mars Attacks: The Holidays” benefits from its zany and hilarious spoof of 1950’s flying saucer movies. These creative teams of writers and artists sure know how to have fun with their oddball ideas. As the Martians invade each month of the holiday season, there is plenty about each tale to enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5 skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis