Jeff Parker's writer's commentary on Warlord Of Mars Attacks #2 from Dynamite, out now.
Here we are, in part two of our series where the most famous fictional forces of Mars face off. Last issue we saw a strange flashback to Barsoom where the Topps Martians were destroying the world, and then in the present day we went to Jet Propulsion Laboratory and saw how the latest lander on Mars found those same aliens — who quickly came to Earth and started raising hell. Now we're going to make more clear what's been going on. [Note: Page numbers below count ads pages.]
So this whole opening scene is that showoff Dean Kotz, showing off. He makes up such cool machines for the Martians to ramble around in, which is an homage to the original card set. Props to editor Nate Cosby for getting me to make this part all about Martian antics, I originally picked right up with our main cast. But really, it isn't MARS ATTACKS unless you show the aliens unleashing chaos. I like the aquatic vehicle Dean designed a lot.
Our title page, where we pick up with Maven, Ramon and Dr. Norman. I originally had a bit where a saucer blasted the top off Ramon's car, making it a convertible. But there's so much going on in this series that there isn't time for all the little things you think of, so it just became a convertible.
Page 8 (including ads):
Here's where Dr. Norman finds out Ramon has read the Princess of Mars books and Maven thinks these two are insane. We're picking up the thread from the novels that Edgar Rice Burroughs transcribed of John Carter's real life adventures. They're BarsoomBros now.
More Martian antics so we can see their befuddlement at modern humans who just talk and talk and talk. I love how Dean keeps setting up the Martians disintegrating everyone off panel. That panel with the Martian looking at money is so great, we should use that in ads.
As close to a mission statement as you'll get from the Martians, that they must destroy all life. Next issue we find out why. Still, you see some of the Martians are curious about life and our culture, they go peeking around in between all the destruction. That' the balance, you kind of have to root for them too even though they're destroying our home.
The desert at night, I love the saucer in the far background destroying. Also nice lighting by Remalante where Edgar lights his pipe. This is not an easy book to color with so much going on, and he really comes through. We also need to note the letterer Rahsan, I think he does a nice job matching the art with his work, like the way the word balloons feel of a piece with the inks. You may not think that matters but now watch the next time you read a story where the balloons are antiseptic ellipsoids and how it doesn't click with a lively art line.
The ghost town where the old Carter Gold Mine is. Maven uses her phone as a flashlight like everyone else I know. Bringing us to the main man…
JOHN CARTER! But… asleep for decades. Surrounded by the mists described in the book that have something to do with sending him to Barsoom.
The theory of a Quantum-Static Planet (completely made up) which explains why we've sent rovers and landers to Mars and saw no signs of a past civilization.
Ramon knows how this stuff works, John needs to wake UP.
And now we get the rest of Dr. Norman's plan, it was all to make a portal between the Insight Lander on Mars and this point. Not a bad plan if there aren't suddenly kill-happy Martians using the portal and coming to Earth by the hundreds.
With Dean's art and Remalante's night colors, this showdown with the Martians really gives me EC Weird Science-Fantasy vibes. Which is appropriate since noted EC Comics talent Wally Wood worked on the Mars Attacks card set. The other main artist of the Topps card set was Norman Saunders, who painted lots of pulp covers, did illustrations for adventure magazines and Fawcett Publications. Dr. Norman isn't named for him, though, that's a name from the novels.
John Carter Attacks! Turns out all he needed was a reason to wake up, and we'll get more on that next issue. Here on Earth, John doesn't have his ability to jump to the top of mountains and inhuman strength, but it doesn't matter because he knows about kicking ass. Apparently so does Maven. We go out on John finding out just how long he's been asleep.