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Mars Attacks Transformers
Reviewed by Red Dave Prime


This is the first Transformers comic since Death of Optimus Prime to be edited by someone other than John Barber – Carlos Guzman looks things over this time. He had previously edited much of the Mike Costa era.

This story is not part of any of the IDW universe but looks to be set in the Sunbow Cartoon era. It is part of the 5 issue “Mars Attacks..” series that IDW ran but none of the stories are themselves interlinked beyond the appearance of the Martians.

All the characters are drawn in their cartoon stylings. Continuing the Sunbow theme, Megatron and Optimus both get to use their energon weapons here (a mace and an axe respectively).

Given the use of the cartoon cast, it’s a little odd that Wheeljack gets name-checked but doesn’t appear.


When Ironhide uses his hand to hit Cliffjumper it is clear that his right hand is holding his severed… right hand. It should be his left hand.

When the Army General gives out to Spike over his snazzy foot wear, the sentence reads “See any oil rigs around here Kid? No? ‘Cause there aren’t any yellow boots… Think it through next time”. There should be a full stop after the second “any”.

Given the use of the cartoon cast, it’s a little odd that Wheeljack gets named checked but doesn’t appear. Not so much a goof as just odd.

Quote, Unquote

“What... I… I’m an oil rig worker.” – Always thought it odd that Spike was both a teenage kid but dressed like an oil rig worker in the cartoon.

“Surrender now or we shall do unspeakable things to your faces and pets.” – The Martians sure know how to threaten.

“You realise..”
“If we’re to escape this..”
“Just Don’t”
“We need to work together as a team.” – Optimus Primes plan doesn’t appeal to a certain Peace-loving Tyrant.

“Kind of takes all the credit for himself doesn’t he?”
“It’s a thing.” – Cliffjumper and Thundercracker make note of Megatrons self-aggrandising.

“Die weak, yet stylishly dressed Human Scum.” – Well, somebody likes Spikes footwear.

“You’re just going to go back to trying to kill us aren’t you?” – Optimus realises that once a Decepticon, always a Decepticon.


Upon reading this stand-alone issue, the only thing I could think is that Shane McCarthy had been asked to condense his 12 issue maxi-series All Hail Megatron into 1 issue, add a touch of humour and some Martians. The result is fast, funny and fabulous. Maybe something with more of this pace and character could have made AHM a more beloved series. Who can tell? But it does make you wonder if AHM was the best that IDW could get out of McCarthy or if he should have been less shackled, as seems to be the case here.

Ok, this isn’t an essential comic, not by any stretch. But it is a fun read and it’s quite lovely to look at too. Matt Frank blends Sunbow designs with a more expressive style to create a vibrant and energetic look. It needs to be too as the story is light on detail and really exists only to link the gags together.

And make no mistake; this is very much a comedy. From poking fun at the original cartoons (Spike's yellow boots being the best joke) to simply humorous dialogue, Mars Attacks the Transformers is always firmly tongue in cheek. In most cases, it’s merely fun but I have to say – Megatron works really well like this!

Would this approach overall have worked over multiple issues? I’m not sure but as a one shot that I had no intention of picking up, this was a more than welcome surprise. And apart from showing that McCarthy could produce something worth shelling money out for, it also introduces Matt Frank to the artist fold of IDW. And that’s a good thing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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