Review: Mars Attacks IDW / Author: Erik Burnham, Shane McCarthy, Martin Powell, Chris Ryall / Artist: Jose Holder , Terry Beatty, Matt Frank, Alan Robinson, Andy Kuhn / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: Out Now
Crossovers are a fact of life when it comes to comic books. Not only do they allow the publisher to plug the rest of its range, they also tend to be a lot of fun, allowing genres to mishmash and create something greater than the sum of two parts. Things get really interesting when a publisher like IDW does this, because they specialise in license products. Or to put it another way, Mars Attacks IDW is a graphic novel in which the horrid big-headed Martians get to not only attack Earth, but also face off against the Transformers, the Ghostbusters, the rock band Kiss and even Popeye. Though not all at once.
As you might expect, this is a silly amount of fun. They are no ongoing story arcs here, and if you’re not familiar with some of the franchises, it can be slightly confusing. For example, one of the crossovers is IDW’s Zombies vs Robots, something I don’t much about. The premise was quite simple, but it didn’t engage me simply because I didn’t know the backstory. Compare this to the Transformer’s story, in which the author gets the personalities of everyone’s favourite shape-shifting robots completely spot on and handles the humour and weirdness of the Martians in a way that suits both books perfectly.
This is a book that no one ever asked for; in the many conversations I’ve had over the years about who would win in a fight between X or Y cool thing, no one has ever said the Mars Attacks martians versus the Ghostbusters, or anything similar. However, these stories work; even the Popeye story successfully marries those two very different worlds together. This is an expertly done book by the masters of the franchise story, and delivers exactly what you’d expect: fun.