Martian Summers #1 1989
Thumbprint Productions, Springfield, Virginia by David Neal Miller,
Sara Wildberger and Will Heyniger
The Way of All Flesh (our story title) unfurls with an opening featuring a Martian landscape and a quote from none other than Rodney Dangerfield. Okay, I'm in!
New Monaco, the Las Vegas of the stars (that is celestially and not referring to gamblers of celebrity status) where all manner of debauchery is available under its protective domes.
We slowly make our way into the apartment of a sleeping couple. When the alarm clock beeps and the lights come up it is revealed that the couple look like someone Rowdy Roddy Piper gawks at with his shades on in 'They Live'. Skinless bodies with all the muscles visible! Gross. I see their intestines. Someone just ate shrimp and corn!
Miranda tries on different skins as she decides who she wants to be today. I couldn't even imagine that kind of pressure. I've worn the same exact pairs of pants and shoes for a month and it still takes me a half hour to figure out what to wear in the mornings.
Her lover August gets out of bed to grab a shower. He tells her to wear her own skin, it's the one he likes best anyway. Awww, what a sweetie!
There are a couple of confusing pages here layout wise that I had to reread to figure out the panel order. It's something that unfortunately really takes me out of the reading experience when it happens but luckily it is a problem that doesn't persist as the story continues.
Miranda gets dressed and makes an offhanded remark about how her job is great because it's as "warm as the Earth and all the slash you can slide down your throat." As if mouthing my own words, August pokes his skinless face out of the shower and asks, "What was that?'
She changes the subject and asks August not to bust the club she'll be working at. She needs the money. So, I guess August is some kind of Martian cop (like J'onn J'onzz). Awesome!
Miranda plants a kiss on her skinless fella and they say their goodbyes as they both head to their respective jobs.
Now, that's a great image!
Now, that's a great image!
August reports into work and is told he will be impersonating a man by the name of Aggart, a thug who is scheduled to give a report this evening to a group of scum known as "Core". A report, that is, on some kind of illegal import/export business going down. Hmmm... could it be that "slash" stuff Miranda was talking about earlier?
Miranda meets with the boss at her new job who hints that like a terrible Foreigner song he'd like her to do more than dance for some new clients tonight. Miranda declines like the classy Martian she is. She calls August and tells him to stop by the club and get some free drinks. He tells her he's working tonight but might just take her up on that after the meeting (which is taking place at her work)!
August is supposed to just go in impersonating Aggart, record the thugs saying what they're up to and then get out of there. Seems easy enough until a call comes in from another thug who says he tried to bust Aggart out of jail but had failed to do so. Oh no, August's cover is blown!
A brawl ensues!
The bad guys escape before August's backup arrives. August meets up with Miranda who sarcastically thanks him for costing her a job. He embraces her, saying she has everything she needs already, but her thoughts reveal she may have a secret need that even August doesn't know about!
Oh no! Miranda's a slashhead! The End!
Well, I liked the freaky Clive Barker Hellraiser-esque visuals of the skinless August in a suit kicking ass so here is my rendition:
Alright! That certainly was an interesting one even if it was a quick read (there was a three page backup story that was completely unrelated so I'm not going into describing that one here).
I thought the story was just fine and the artwork interesting and well done. Other than a couple of confusing pages at the beginning of the book it was a pretty good read.
There never was an issue two to this series so I guess we'll all have to come up with our own ending. I'm guessing Miranda, in a different skin, overdoses on slash and August is the one to find her body. Not recognizing her at first August discovers the horrible truth while in pursuit of the ringleader of this "Core".He then single handedly busts the drug ring in New Monaco and kills those responsible for getting the drugs into his sweetheart's hands.
He then quits the force and disguises himself in the skin of a pilot and leaves Mars once and for all.
At least that's my imaginings. What do you think happened?
If any of the creators of this book happen upon this post please enlighten us.
Also, check out the sweet back cover to the book. Might be my favorite image in the entire comic!
Thanks to everyone for reading and be sure to check back in a month for my next review:
Until then, keep an eye out for the buried treasures in the bewildering world of small press and independent comics!