Comic Book Review – Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots

Luke Owen reviews Mars Attacks Zombies vs Robots…

The only thing worse than Earth having an inter-dimensional stargate that led to the Zombies vs Robots catastrophe are Martians using one of their own to lead a sneak attack on Earth. But what will happen when zombies get a scent of those big, exposed Martian brains…?
Today is a sad day. Today marks the end of IDW’s January Mars Attacks series with an invasion of the only IDW created property on the list, Zombies vs. Robots. I had so much praise for last week’s Mars Attacks The Transformers and it was mostly down to my love of the original source material. Well, I’m actually familiar with Chris Ryall’s Zombies vs. Robots, but that did not affect my enjoyment of this fantastic comic.
What I like about Ryall’s Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots is that it really does put a lot of focus and emphasis on the Martians where they’re almost the main role of the piece. Unlike say Mars Attacks Popeye where they are secondary, we don’t get to the war-strewn landscape of Zombies vs. Robots until a fair few pages in. We get to see conversations with the Martians and their plans for global domination – which only adds to the comedy of them trying to take over a world that is completely dead. When they arrive on Earth they are attacked by the Zombies only to be helped by the Robots who go to great lengths to show them how stupid they are.
While I praised Mars Attacks Kiss for portraying the Martians as a threat, this issue goes well out of its way to prove they are an incompetent race and foolish in all of their quests, similar how Erik Burnham did in Mars Attacks The Real Ghostbusters. At the end of the day, these are stupid characters with goofy designs and should be treated as such. But I think there is a chance to fall far too one side and show them as being secondary cannon-fodder (Mars Attacks Popeye) and Ryall doesn’t fall into that. He gets the balance just right.

One thing I do have to say however is that Ryall missed a trick to add in extra humour of a zombie Martian. It might just be me, but I think that’s a fairly obvious gag to make when you’re writing a comic about Martians invading a zombie-strewn planet.

The artwork is fantastic and it mirrors the comedy aspect of the script so well. Andy Kuhn’s work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been really good, but here he just hits the nail on the head perfectly. His design of the lead Martian is actually quite sinister which really helps the comedy towards the end of the issue and his decimated earth is actually quite chilling – which again adds to the comedy.

Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots is such as well-balanced book. While it didn’t have me rolling with laughter as Mars Attacks The Transformers did, it’s full of laughs with some well-timed humour and hilarious ideas.

My hat goes off to everyone who has worked on this January Mars Attacks series. They’ve all done such a great job and each issue has had its own merits. I’ve made no secret of how I didn’t like either Infestation storylines they’ve done so anything was going to be a step up in my books, but they’ve outdone themselves completely and created a fantastic series of comics. Well done!

Luke Owen is one of the co-editors of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @CGLuke_o

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