Review: ‘Mars Attacks’ #7

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A tremendous amount of outrageous action and dark humor flows within the pages of Mars Attacks #7. With an absurd premise – blending retro sci-fi, horror, and crime – the story is surprisingly really good. If you aren’t already, this issue will make you a fan of the “Mars Attacks” series.

WRITTEN BY: John Layman
ART BY: John McCrea
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: February 13, 2013

In 1962, Martian Scout Zar’s first encounter with the humans became a disastrous recon mission. Wanting revenge for the death of his comrades, Zar returns back to Earth with a vengeance. A half-century later, Zar has risen up the ranks and is now the general of a massive invasion force. Following Zar’s orders, the Martians have arrived in Tortilla Flats decimating the townspeople. Unprepared for a resistance attack, the Martians are about to discover the worst in humanity. There is a dangerous and cunning rebel that the Martians have to worry about before they can rule and conquer Earth.

John Layman combines crime and sci-fi to build the plot. If you’re familiar with Tim Burton’s live-action film, the comic takes a completely darker direction. While avoiding the campiness and slapstick comedy, Layman takes a look at both genres and portrays them seriously. Even though this should be a cheesy B-Movie concept, which is really aliens vs. mobsters, Layman elevates the themes and uses the sci-fi element to explore the worst in human nature. Layman successfully makes the crime tale work, focusing more on character study, while The Martians take a backseat in this issue.

Raymond, “The Rat,” is an attention-grabbing character because he is acting as an antagonist/protagonist at the same time. Even while witnessing the suffering of the human race, Raymond prefers to show loyalty to himself, the only person he can trust. Despite all his flaws as a deserter and a trickster, Raymond might actually be someone who could survive the Martian invasion. Even though he doesn’t have any redeeming qualities, Raymond is playing both sides, the Martians and the human race, to get what he wants.

In different chapters, artist John McCrea highlights certain aspects of the crime tale and the alien invasion. The Rat-Catchers, the hit men assigned to kill Raymond, look like they just came out of the movie, Pulp Fiction. With their black suits, shades, and guns, the Rat-Catchers are tough mob enforcers, who are all about action and very little dialogue. In a great introduction, the Rat-Catcher are shooting down a group of Martians, who are preventing them from getting to their snitch.

Using wide shots, McCrea is able to showcase the sheer size of the Martian invasion. Readers see the decimation of buildings as the Martians walk across the empty streets with a giant slug right behind them. The Martians are using their advanced weaponry to freeze their victims solid. McCrea captures the fear and panic, as the military and innocent civilians are running away from a Martian spaceship.

For newcomers, “Mars Attacks #7″ is off to a promising start with this new story arc . While taking a darker and serious tone, the “Mars Attacks” series is still bloody and fun as ever.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis