Friday, May 06, 2005

wood's M.A.R.S. Patrol

In this volume, Dark Horse has gathered the first three issues of “M.A.R.S. Patrol: Total War,” a Gold Key science fiction comic book series from 1965; the three issues are legendary Wally Wood’s total contribution to the series. Known as one of the greatest artists to ever illustrate science fiction comics, Wood did “M.A.R.S. Patrol” in between redesigning Daredevil at Marvel and creating “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents” for Tower. The plot is simple; invaders of unknown origin appear and attack nearly every country. While we learn that several places on Earth are attacked, most of the action takes place on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The invaders are swift and brutal, murdering everyone in the way of their total conquest. It’s up to the M.A.R.S. (Marine Attack Rescue Service) Patrol, an elite team of specialists, to stem the tide of invaders and win the day. Pilot Cy Adams is the leader, Russ Stacey is one of the best weapon designers in the country, Joe Stryker is a demolitions expert, and Ken Hiro is a frogman and skilled martial artist. Although created in the 1960s, “M.A.R.S. Patrol: Total War” easily fits into today’s market, in an era where we are constantly aware of the threat of stateless ideologues. The illustrations are well drawn, the action is intense and non-stop. Gold Key’s coloring process wasn’t too spectacular, but even so, the stories and action remain a top-notch testament to the genius of Wally Wood.


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