Now, I have to admit, I’m not a fan of KISS but I do have two notable KISS comics: Howard The Duck #12 and 13 from 1977 which was the first comic book appearance of the group if my memory serves. If I’m wrong correct me, please. But what I’m trying to say here is I don’t have much knowledge of the groups fictional history so I may have seen things incorrectly here so, again, if I’m wrong the comments section below is the best way to correct me.
This story, written by Chris Ryall with art by Alan Robinson (IDW has some of the best artists in comics), takes place at the time of the first solo comic appearance of KISS in the 1977 Marvel Magazine Marvel Comics Super Special: KISS in which the four members of the band originally received their powers. Though I don’t believe this comic had the blood of anyone mixed in the ink.
So, the boys from KISS, or who would become KISS, end up not being in the right place at the right time (actually, they show up late) and the person they were to get their powers from it attacked and killed by Martians who end up with the powers of KISS. Those familiar with these comics know what that means. Those who aren’t, well, just imagine Martians who no longer need ray guns to kill because they can shoot lasers from their eyes, fire from their mouths, can create holes in space and go wherever they want, and can change the forms of small animals into huge monsters. That does mean, much like the cover suggests (by the way another astoundingly epic cover by Ray Dillon), we get Martians with markings like the KISS make-up AND a Martian with an astoundingly long tongue!
So, the would-be members of KISS are turned into the underdog heroes fighting to save Earth while the embodiments of their powers fight to free themselves from the Martian’s minds so they may connect with the humans they were meant for. That was something I didn’t expect: a fight for Earth on multiple levels. Even the cosmic deity that the powers come from gets involved.
In the end it does take the combination of the guys, the KISS powers, and the cosmic deity to defeat the Martian invasion leaving one Martian alive and given a chance to redeem himself… in a way you probably wouldn’t expect (it also impacts the history of KISS in this reality)
All in all, while I didn’t enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed the Popeye one, I have to say there seems to be a theme here. While the Martians appear to be a force to be reckoned with, they seem to be very easily defeated. This is one of the drawbacks to these type of stories, you know the Martians won’t be allowed to kill any major characters so while there is a lot of fun and entertainment value to these stories, there isn’t much a feeling that these properties are in any real danger. But the Zombies Vs. Robots world might be different. The Martians may be able to impact that reality in a long-lasting way. We’ll just have to wait and see. But, as I said, even with this in mind, and seeing how quickly these one-shots are wrapped up, this is still a highly entertaining event. Also just as entertaining this week are the variant covers: Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Greg Staples and Mars Attacks Star Slammers by the legendary Walter Simonson!