In Review: Mars Attacks #6

The covers: A soldier is put into deep freeze by a martian flier as a foot soldier looks on gleefully. Simple and cool (no pun intended)! Art by John McCrea with colors by Andrew Elder. Cover RI by Francesco Francavilla is “Robot Terror,” Card 32A in the card collection. It has an angry martian in a giant robot zapping humans. A nice image, though I wish the colors would have been more varied. Overall grades: Regular A and RI B

The story: “The Martian Cold War” begins from writer John Layman. This story is set briefly before, during, and just after the events of the previous five issues. There are two focuses: Tommy Bailey, boy genius, and the Novas Vira, the covert Earth defense organization. Both stories neatly meet and along the way there’s plenty of action, laughs, and thrills. I loved how the three bullies on Page 1 were characters we’ve encountered before in this series. I also chuckled out loud at the top panel of Page 3 showing the differences between baby Tommy and his peers. Pages 12 and 13 were a slick way to retell the carnage of previous issues. It was also good to see that humanity had created a weapon than could universally stop the threat of the invasion, so you know what the martian high command’s goals will be. And there’s a fantastic teaser for next issue. Great in every way. Overall grade: A

The art: Artist John McCrea is so good, he can tell a story without words. Just look at Page 1; you can tell exactly what’s going on with all the characters just by what’s been drawn. Add in the words and the power of the image becomes even greater; see Page 2: Tommy is frightened of something, but without the dialogue you’d be at a loss. And knowing what he’s scared of and people’s reactions to his fears makes the art funny and foreboding. Not only is McCrea good at characterization, he can do epic mayhem as well: the double-paged spread on Pages 4 and 5. Page 6 is a masterful example of subtle destruction that I loved. And without giving too much away, Novas Vira would give S.H.I.E.L.D. a run for its money. McCrea is awesome in every way. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Every issue of this series has me always asking myself if I should find such destruction so pretty. Andrew Elder is always on the ball! Look at Page 2 for proof: four distinct settings, each essentially telling the same story, but colored so differently it tells the readers that a new location and a different point in time is occurring. The art and the dialogue can get the reader to this conclusion, but the coloring’s assistance cannot be downplayed. And the destruction! Wow! Oranges, yellows, and pinks are familiar yet so otherworldly under Elder’s command. Overall grade: A+

The letters: I was so afraid that the martian dialogue would be translated throughout the entire issue, but it wasn’t–and I so enjoy reading the aliens’ untranslatable dialogue! Not too many sound effects in this issue, but when they do appear John Layman creates the perfect sound for them: “POOM” and “GWEEEEE”. Fantastic! Overall grade: A

The insert: Yes, there’s more than just the comic: you also get Mars Attack trading card 32A, featuring the RI Cover Art. This is so cool! It took me back to decades past, when Topps included cards in Mars Attacks and Jurassic Park, and when Marvel had Tattooz in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. So darned cool! Overall grade: A+

The final line: Funny, frightening insanity from space. Not to be missed! Overall grade: A+

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