Mars Attack: Human Condition
There is something about the world of Mars Attacks, that is so tongue in cheek, that it invokes an involuntary fondness. Nothing about the universe is particularly cohesive, the characters are a hodge podge of stereotypes and character tropes, but for some odd reason, it works.
Human Condition is an anthology that focuses its lens on various facets of human tradition, and glowers at them from a foreign lens. Martians invade earth, as they are wont to do, and meddle in the affairs of holiday tradition and graffiti great classical works of literature, and they manage to do it all in a bloody glorious style.
Anthologies are always a particularly difficult review, because I am forced to pick and choose stories in an effort to give you a true sense of what this compilation is about. Screw that. Each story manages to take on a truly unique tone and style, while all conforming to the general insanity that is the Mars Attacks universe. From giant Battle Balloons, to a rousing game of interplanetary soccer, each story is well composed and comically directed. I want to spend time highlighting a story or two, but to be perfectly frank, I cannot decide which ones deserve the extra attention. They all simply work.
The opening story is cartoony, and honestly, I imagined would dampen the dark comical aesethetic of Mars Attacks, but one man army Fred Hembeck made it work. He sets the tone for this whole trade, and the tone is one of comedic violence.
I seriously find myself at a loss here, because I don’t want this review to drag out for ten pages as I highlight each story, so instead, I will simply say each tale is a fun ride. They dance through the holidays, and wrap up in perverse retellings of great classic novels a la Moby Dick, Jekyll and Hyde, Robinson Crusoe, and… yeah I am just going to stop saying great. I didn’t even really know I liked Mars Attacks until I finished this trade.
In summation, I can’t really summarize an anthology. But, I can sincerely suggest you read this book. It is a well composed collection, and each story has managed to build and organic team capable of delivering a truly enjoyable (if not slightly traumatizing) tale of world domination from the universe’s least competent conquerors.
4 ½ out of 5.
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