Dynamite Entertainment 2020
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Fran Strukan
Coloured by Valentina Briški
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
"She is the red-haired she-devil with the sword. They are the green-skinned invaders from the red planet. Yes, those dastardly Mars Attacks Martians are attacking again, and these are the Martians of old, the Martians of the Hyborian Age. And so, it’s up to Red Sonja to stop the attack. But how will steel and strength and savagery stand again laser guns, sci-fi technology and weird, weird Martian science? Only one way to find out! Buy this freakin’ book!
At first I thought that the cover should be what the interiors looked like then when I opened it up and saw Fran’s work I decided that it was perfectly suited to the whole premise behind Mars Attacks! I love when John has fun with a story and really kind of lets loose upon the whole ordeal like we see here. There is an element of fun, joy and excitement that is balanced by the adventuring aspect that promises bloodshed and mayhem. This is what comics should be all about, that mix of humour that isn’t crass or toilet humour but thinking man’s humour alongside some truly fun action and adventure.
I really like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is really rather extremely well done. The character development feels right, natural to all parties and I have to say that I'm having an absolute blast seeing them all in action. Just that John is able to make this all work as seamlessly as he does is a testament to the skill, talent and ability he possesses as a storyteller. The pacing here is fantastic and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story it is easy to see how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow. Also this highlights how well the book is structured which you can see readily with how fast you move through the book and then when it leaves you wanting more.
I mentioned it earlier but I rather do like the interior artwork that we see here. It has this blend of Saturday morning cartoon with adult swim sensibilities. It works precisely the way it is intended to. The lienwork is nice and strong and while we see a little variation in line weight it still has the same desired effect. While I am always going to wish to see more backgrounds, what we do see is nicely rendered and brings us a sense of scale, depth perception as well as the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a strong eye for storytelling. The colour work is solid and we see some nice colour blocking here that showcases the various hues and tones within the colours.
It is so nice to see such an unusual mash-up in franchises work together like we see them doing here. That it works, is so much gosh darn fun is just an added bonus. That we as the reader can see the joy that has been put into doing this seeps from the pages into the reader beautifully. It’s a joy pure and simple and possibly a guilty pleasure but that’s up to you to decide.