Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review -- MARS ATTACKS ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots
(Chris Ryall, Andy Kuhn; IDW)
I'm a pretty big fan of IDW's original Zombies vs. Robots series, based mostly on my love of Ashley Wood's art, but also because… well, I mean… it's ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS! Much like my beloved Cowboy Ninja Viking from Image, when you start mashing up things that I love, I love you even more for it (kind of like when you make a sandwich out of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, mayo and American cheese). When I heard that Chris Ryall was going to revisit the world of his Zombies vs. Robots AND layer in Martians attacking, how could I not be intrigued? 
Sure there's no Ashley Wood attached to this book, but Andy Kuhn is no slouch either, and in Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots he has many opportunities to prove that again and again.
This book is the last of a five-issue Mars Attacks series that IDW has foisted on the comic book buying public, a series which had previously featured Mars Attacking the likes of the Transformers, the Ghostbusters, the band Kiss, and even good old Popeye. Knowing that this crossover series HAD to be either a cash grab, a contractual obligation, or a good old punk rock stick-in-the-eye, I girded myself to expect pretty much nothing in terms of lasting value, and spent a couple of hours in preparation inserting my tongue firmly in my cheek over and over again.
What we got here is a goof of little substance but fair entertainment. The story starts on Mars with Chief Commander (Science Division) Yaz announcing that they have discovered an "all new human threat to contend with." This threat is Stargate, which would allow an invasion force to transport anywhere in the universe (I think). The Martians figure out that they can synch up their Stargate to the one on Earth and use it to launch an invasion force of their own. The conceit of this concept is that "organic matter cannot pass between these gates without imploding the entire gateway."
Enter the Martian Elite Striker force. They zap through the Stargate and end up in on an Earth devastated by the war between zombies and robots. From there, the hijinks ensue.
Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots is pretty much a puff piece. It's like a two-drink minimum stand up routine that consists of one joke. Sure, the joke is kinda funny, but the price of the drinks start you wondering if this was the best use of your entertainment dollar. Ryall is great at a sort of rapid deployment character development (this is a one-shot after all), and Kuhn's art is oftentimes great, almost approaching the beauty of Wood's on the original property. The book reads rocket fast and the story unfolds along a back highway with twists and turns, but ultimately you end up only two blocks away from home wondering why you even bothered driving in the first place.
It's fine. It is what it is, a quick hit of entertainment. If you need something to distract you while waiting for your Grand Slamwich® at Denny's, then Mars Attacks Zombies vs. Robots fits the bill perfectly.

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