Review: Mars Attacks Volume One – Attack From Space / Author: John Layman / Artist: John McCrea / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: February 26th
You should really know what to expect from the Mars Attacks franchise by now: ridiculous-looking aliens from Mars going on the rampage across the world (but mostly North America), zapping innocent humans with rayguns and talking smack.
John Layman has gleefully stuck to this extremely popular formula. However, he has also taken a slightly slanted approach to the storytelling, recounting the Martian invasion partially in retrospect, with this book detailing one of many attacks. It's an approach that allows Layman to introduce a wide variety of heroes and villains, while still filling every other page with Martians shooting people with rayguns. The cast of human characters is interesting, and you even gain a degree of sympathy for the utterly evil Martians. Not much, but enough to keep you reading.
Without letting go of his trademark cartoonishness and love of gore, John McCrea deals with the iconic Mars Attacks style very admirably. The goofy-looking giant robots and flying saucers are still there, but have been subtly updated, and fans of McCrea's work on Hitman will recognize the vein of dark humour than runs through the panels.
Though there isn’t much of a coherent plot, the story is so populated with outlandish ideas and utterly absurd premises that you barely notice. True, it's a shame that it ends rather abruptly, but otherwise Attack From Space captures the weird fun of the original Topps Trading Cards perfectly, and evokes all the best bits of the movie at the same time. Even if you’ve never heard of Mars Attacks, you’d need a heart of stone not to find this fun on some level. It is style and no substance, and as such, almost perfect for what it is.