June 24th, 2008

In lieu of a game recommendation this week, as various recording software is strongly disagreeing with the games which I’m trying to cover, I’m going to talk about what I think may be relevant to the interests of those who normally read my posts. Comics! Rather, *a* comic. I may do more of these types of posts every now and then instead of games posts since they don’t rely so heavily on technical things working out perfectly. I may not need to include video in every post, but I really want to. I don’t feel I’ve made a full post unless I do. But I may not always have it from now on. Fair warning!

Right, then. I’m going to talk about a book that came out on 6/11. That was a while ago, but I normally get my books on the Monday after they came out, and this particular shipment came in a couple days late, so I just got around to it this last weekend. It’s a science fiction book by the name of A Red Mass For Mars, written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Ryan Bodenheim. Of the two, even though I’m finding Bodenheim’s art to be quite beautiful, Hickman is the only one whose work I’m familiar with; I’ve been pulling another mini series of his that is a couple of issues in called Transhuman. Both books have similar page layouts and covers. Stark white backgrounds with clean and well aligned panels, boxy text bubbles and rife with well written dialogue. I’m a huge fan of the clean-cut style, it makes the dialogue that much more engrossing.

A Red Mass For Mars, specifically, is to be a 4 issue mini series about the end of human civilization. Humanity, to this point, has persevered through global warming, super-viruses, nuclear winter, and being ‘cleansed’ by nanobots. However, Earth now faces an external threat, and only external forces can help to save them. I came across a CBR interview with Hickman that took place in September of last year, and even though I personally went into this book blindly, I think it’s probably worth reading his description of the book:

“[CBR:] I don’t want to keep you from your relaxation any more than is necessary, so let’s get right into it. Introduce “A Red Mass for Mars.”

[Hickman:] Well, the story takes place in one of those post-apocalyptic, “Blade Runner” kind of futures that we all as comic book fans are familiar with. Things are bad and now they’re going to get even worse. I set up all of that so that I can play against type and what normal expectations of a story like this usually are. My other new book, “Pax Romana,” and “Red Mass for Mars” are both books about society. One is a historical science fiction story and the other one is a super hero kind of story, but they’re both about society; one taking a look at it macroscopically and the other microscopically and “Red Mass” is the latter. Ultimately, it’s about if one man could actually affect the future of society, what would that mean and what if he chose not to do it? What if he had demands? What if he just wasn’t in the mood? It kind of spirals out of control from there.”

Since I am recommending this so long after the book has been on shelves – almost a full two weeks – I am afraid that you may not be able to find a copy at your local comic shop. Should that be the case, you may be able to find it at some online comic retailers such as Sci-Fi Genre (where I get my comics!), MyComicShop.com or even eBay. Check out issues #1 and #2 of Transhuman while you’re at it; you won’t regret either purchase.

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