By the time I got into comic books, it was all superheroes. I was much too late to have missed the earlier days when the comic industry was trying all sorts of different genres to keep afloat. Weird pulp tales and pirate comics were already collectibles, and format had long since been settled into the traditional set of panels seen now. But sometimes I wonder what the old comics were like…and while I don’t know for certain, Mars Invades Venus certainly seems to be calling up that old style.
Published by Erisian Entertainment, Mars Invades Venus is published as being a “serial graphic novel,” though I’m unsure if that means that there’ll be a second issue or not. Presumably so, since the story doesn’t even try to come to a resolution. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The book is in PDF format, and is twenty-five pages long, consisting of a cover and twenty-four pages of the story; oddly, there’s no credits page or introduction or anything, not even a back cover. Each page is a single panel, with a small narrative (usually a paragraph long) tucked into one of the corners. The title is also present in a corner of each page, which seems strange that it labels itself so much…it gave me the impression that these were all separate pictures that were put together and had the text added later to create a narrative whole, though I have no idea if this is true or not.
Graphically, the book is quite a feast for the eyes, as the book is entirely composed of full-color full-page spreads. The art style seems fairly retro, though I’m not well-versed enough in comic art to describe the specifics of it. Still, I found it to be fairly well-done in terms of coloration, proportions, and detail.
Where some people won’t care for the book, I think, is in terms of the story it tells (and how it tells it). The plot here is extremely thin, and can be pretty well figured out from the title alone. The inhabitants of Mars – all of whom are hideous green men with claws and faces like skulls – are dying. Despite their advanced technology, they’re unable to deal with their planets ecological changes (Mars is growing colder) or the fact that there’s no more DNA from their extinct females left to reproduce with. Thus the decision is made to invade their ancestral planet, Venus…though I’m unsure if it’s to conquer the planet, or take women from it and return home.
Venus, by contrast, is a jungle-world filled with all sorts of dinosaurs and ferocious mammals (some real, others made-up), and is home to warring tribes of amazons. Of course, the amazons are all bikini-wearing sex pots who ride dinosaurs and round up men like herd animals. Interestingly, while it’s never hinted at, the understanding here seems to be that the Martians were men who fled from this sort of treatment in the first place…or at least, that’s what I thought.
This consists of just a fraction of the panels, before we get to the actual invasion and war. Despite their tanks, flying pods, mecha-armor, and ray guns, the majority of the story has the Martians getting their green asses kicked more often than not. In large part this seems to be because the amazons keep sicking their dinosaurs on them…and this is where the story goes from campy to downright unbelievable, since while it might be plausible that a tyrannosaurus rex could stomp through mecha-armor, I have a very hard time believing that a pterodactyl-riding spear-throwing woman could down an alien flying pod, or that the Martians would be stupid enough to do the majority of their raiding on foot.
Simply put, most of the situations have isolated Martians getting harried by the local fauna largely because the full-page spread looks better with a sexy woman up front. Almost no logic is shown on the Martians part, but reading this makes me think that asking for anything other than a shoestring plot is foolishness anyway. This comic exists largely to show off T&A, particularly in contrast to green men and giant lizards. In fact, given that there’s no resolution to the invasion by the end of the book, it’s likely that there’s more on the way.
For those worried, there’s no actual nudity here, though the amazons never wear more than a bikini, and sometimes less. All the naughty bits are covered, keeping this firmly in the realm of cheesecake.
Ultimately, Mars Invades Venus is a fairly light-hearted bit of fluff that only wants to show off hideous monsters and sexy ladies, giving only a light plot to string the pictures together. If that’s all you’re looking for, and don’t take any of the rest of it too seriously, then you’ll enjoy this comic for what it is. Start applying actual logic here, though, and things will quickly break down, so take note; people looking for realism and logic need not apply.
After all, when you’ve got amazons in bikinis having dinosaurs attack death ray-wielding aliens, what else is there to do but sit back and enjoy the spectacle?