Publisher: Raw Edge Comics
Writer/Artist/Letterer: Vince Hunt
Colourist: Shaun Dobie
Release Date: Issue #1 on sale now, issue #2 debuts on 18th April at the Birmingham Comics Festival
Following an action packed, humour filled first issue which saw our hero Doug Stewart (an astronaut who, by virtue of an otherworldly close encounter, ends up with a bizarre red ‘face-hugger’ alien attached to his face that just so happens to give him superpowers) vanquish a giant goo beast in Hyde Park, we’re back for the second instalment of Vince Hunt’s gloriously oddball series. When we last left things, Doug found himself dealing with a mysterious giant egg that seems to be covered in, well… “Space Sharks”… while also facing a media backlash as a result of his somewhat reckless approach to being a hero
Impressively, The Red Mask From Mars manages to carefully tread the line between taking itself too seriously and becoming an outright parody, landing somewhere in the sweet spot that leaves it goofy… but not too goofy, y’know? Hunt’s artwork is perfectly suited for the tone of the series, with his over-the-top violence and dramatically exaggerated facial expressions – coupled with Shaun Dobie’s bright, vibrant colours – giving the whole thing a bit of a ‘Saturday morning cartoon’ vibe. In fact, that’s probably the best way to describe this series as a whole. You can just imagine kids tuning in every weekend to enjoy Doug’s latest exploits, before immediately pestering their parents to buy them the latest action figures in the line (“Space Sharks! Complete with realistic chomping action!”).
Hunt’s characters are loud, brash and larger than life, from wise-cracking Doug to stuffy government liaison Burke to dynamic, ultra-serious Sergeant Price. Subtle, nuanced development falls by the wayside here in favour of bright, straightforward characters – and the book is all the better for it, in my opinion. The outright Britishness of the series also helps it differentiate itself from the competition, with some utterly inspired use of phrases like “bleedin’ eck!” and “tatty bye!” over the first two issues.
While it’s not really going to tax the brain cells too much, The Red Mask From Mars is a glorious slice of escapism that’s likely to put a smile on your face. Gloriously over-the-top from start to finish, Hunt has created the perfect outlet for his goofy sense of humour and zany, cartoony artwork. Well worth a look.
You can find out more about the series, buy copies of the first issue, and download a FREE copy of the “origin” issue on the official Red Mask From Mars website (http://theredmaskfrommars.com)