Ryall, Chris & Robinson, Allan
Mars Attacks Kiss (Book review)
Released: 2013, IDW
Comics and Hard Rock (and later Heavy Metal) have always been a natural pairing. From as far back as the 70’s with Kiss and Alice Cooper up to much more recent comic/band cross-over series (ie. GWAR and the forthcoming Iron Maiden comic) comics and graphic novels have been a cool and fun way to expand the cultural impact of Metal music. Bands that have a wide range in styles such as Evergrey to Jungle Rot to Rob Zombie have all produced comics of some fashion. This month I’m taking a look at a few of these Metal-themed comics, Alice Cooper (1979), Megadeth (1997), Hammerfall (2002), Thor (2011), Kiss (2013), Slayer (2016) and Judas Priest (2017). Please feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature.
This is just too weird. Normally, I like weird but I have a hard time wrapping my head around this crossover. IDW is a big time comic publisher with big ties to mainstream pop culture. They have been running a comic series based on the 1996 film of the same name which was apparently based on an older trading card collection. I never saw the cards and although I did see the movie, it didn’t make a big impact on me. It was fun and decent but nothing special. When I saw that Mars Attacks had done a crossover with Kiss I had to get it for the Kiss factor obviously. After reading the comic, looking at all the ads and a quick visit to the IDW website, I realized this Mars Attacks series is a bigger deal than I thought. There are a ton of issues and other crossovers including, Mars Attacks Popeye, Mars Attacks Judge Dredd, Mars Attacks Ghostbusters, Mars Attacks Transformers and about a dozen more. Like I said…weird.
The comic, subtitled ‘Flaming Youth’ is a 28 page, full colour comic printed on quite nice paper. As expected, like everything that is associated with Kiss, it is big, bright, bold and loud. The story remains somewhat faithfully to other Kiss storylines; specifically the cosmic avatars of the four Kiss icons/symbols (the original make-up designs) are used by the forces of good to help defend the earth. However, in a bad turn of events, the four avatars get captured by the evil aliens from Mars Attacks and they inherit the powers of Kiss which helps them in their diabolic scheme to conquer the earth. With the help of four young teenagers, Paul, Gene, Ace and Peter (pre-Kiss) and some divine intervention by ‘The Elder’ and his emissary ‘She’ AND the power of Kiss…everything combines into one big pan-dimensional, intergalactic showdown. Like I said again….weird.
There is no denying the fun energy of the writing, the vibrancy of the art, the in-jokes and more. It takes a silly story and has fun reshaping the Kiss creation legend while still staying faithful to some of the archetypes.
This one-off comic is fast and fun and a great cross-over…word but great. It somehow works. Worth checking out for all fans of pop-culture, cult films and of course Kiss.