The planet Mars has been a source of science fiction stories going back to the early days of the genre with H.G Wells and his invading Martians to the new comic from Oni Press, Redline, created by writer Neal Holman and artist Clayton McCormack.

    Obviously set on Mars in the future, the planet has been colonised and populated by humanity who are at odds with the local ‘terrestrial’ (alien) population. From the opening pages of armed soldiers chucking around body-bags and being under attack this is clearly and obviously referencing American-led wars in the Middle East and beyond – not to mention the insanity which is the American media. Looking at American political reporting from outwith the country it really is like looking at another planet’s media as it is truly insane.

    In this context Holman and McCormack spin a tidy little tale which straddles the line between satire and parody sometimes uncomfortably. It’s also unclear as to whether this is just a ‘funny’ comic or one with a purpose, which to be fair isn’t something one can get from a first issue. However, as a whole this is decent enough stuff but it feels frankly restrained by masking what is essentially a story talking about American interference and imperialism in the Middle East in a science fiction context.

    SF is a fantastic genre and you can tell stories in a way you can’t in other genres; but sometimes it is better being direct and Redlines hasn’t quite got the bite it could have. At least not yet anyway – only time will tell if it becomes something more than it is, though for now it’s well worth checking out as it does show some potential.

    Glenn Miller

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