The eternal comics conundrum of ‘who would beat who in a fight‘ has kept comics in fresh storylines for almost as long as comics have been around. The latest unlikely pairing to be pitted against each other, courtesy of IDW Publishing, are those robots in disguise, the Transformers and the manic martians from Mars Attacks in this brilliantly insane one off. IDW have a real knack for creating these one-off, ‘what if’ scenarios, thanks in part to their wide selection of licensed characters, and so after pitting them against the Ghostbusters, Kiss and Popeye it’s time another iconic group of heroes to take on the onslaught of the cackling martians.The secret to making a book like this work is to f make the prospect of these characters interacting seem entirely plausible and writer Shane McCarthy does this by keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek and playing the irony card nice and early. These are the campy over the top Transformers of 1980s cartoon series, (not the more recent, edgier Manga style books) and are drawn expertly by Matt Frank in that classic style, and so work brilliantly well in the retro sci-fi world of the Martians. Although never quite breaking the 4th wall, McCarthy gets remarkably close, especially in the sequence where the Autobots and Decepticons have to work together to fight off their new foes, and the dialogue is rich in knowing nods about some of the more ridiculous elements of the Transformers universe.
At times the dialogue may be a bit hokey, but it works as it feels intentional, and as a one-off the story is just feasible enough that you never get bored. If anything you are actually left wanting more by the time you reach the end and so surely a second instalment on Cybertron is a given?!
Mars Attacks The Transformers is available via ComiXology for £2.49