Wednesday, 12 December 2012

So I Read A Red Mass For Mars

A 250 word (or less) review of A Red Mass For Mars graphic novel
By Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim, Image Comics

A Red Mass For Mars is a very dense comic book. The basic premise is pretty simple: a massive alien invasion is coming to Earth and it's up to the superheroes of the world to stop it. The heroes of Earth are horribly outmatched and humanity's only potential hope is Mars, a kind of deified ersatz-Superman, who unfortunately wants no part in saving the planet. The real story of the book is about Mars since the plot hinges on his intervention and focuses on intercessions to him as well as his origins and backstory. A Red Mass For Mars is further complicated by the thematic discussions going on. The narration and story structure of the book is very epic and lyrical which seems to delve into the comics-as-myth discussion. I also get the impression, based on the deification of Mars and his relationship to his son, that there is a broader religious discourse happening as well. The comic also has a conversation about human social evolution occurring, with chapters describing transitional steps toward a kind of Utopia. My take on it is that there is a thematic discussion about how social progress relates to religious belief.  Hickman really packs a lot of complicated ideas into this book. Visually, the comic is spectacular: Bodenheim’s drawings are suitably epic and mate beautifully with Hickman’s distinctive
colouring and design. Overall, I'd recommend A Red Mass For Mars, just know that it is a challenging book that requires you to invest in it.

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