The Martian Confederacy: Rednecks on a Red Planet
This book features talking bears on Mars, a sexy android and a praying mantis bartender. Not sold yet? Fortunately, there is much more to attract you to The Martian Confederacy, written by Jason McNamara and inked by Paige Braddock – published by Girl Twirl Comics.
I’ll admit, outerspace settings are one of those things I get squeamish about. Yet somehow, like musicals, I find myself attracted to them on a regular basis, despite my disinclination. At some point you have to relent and realize, if some of your favorite stories are told in space…you probably DO like space stories.
So, here it goes: Yes – I do like space stories. Damn you Firefly, Battlestar Galactia, Alien, Total Recall and Star Wars!! I don’t intend to, but it’s something that happens. I guess I can now add The Martian Confederacy to that list of things that unwittingly attract me to the cosmos.
Right – the plot is built on a Total Recall foundation, mixed with Star Wars and a dash of Firefly for good measure. Again, what’s not to love? The idea is that Mars has been colonized (can we get on that already?) and a corporation is controlling and cashing in on devices that create breathable air for the population of the entire planet. Poor folks get it the worst – and our heroes certainly fit that bill. They do live in a space trailer park after all.
A scientist has developed a moss that will bring oxygen to the planet and he is killed off within the first few pages. So it’s up to our heroes – Lou (the android), Boone (scrappy thief) and Spinner (the talking bear) to carry out his mission, while continually butting heads with a nasty space sheriff, the Alcalde, who rules the planet (he literally creates laws off the cuff), and has a two-faced mutant mistress.
I can certainly get on board with space cowboys, and I’m also comfortable with any space setting that doesn’t require the characters to hobble around in bulky suits. McNamara does a great job of fleshing out the world by establishing future lingo and setting up the rules of Martian colonization and laws. Especially got some good laughs out of the currency named after William Shatner (that’ll be five Shatners, please).
The Evil Corporation as the villain is a supremely believable scenario, and the friendly mocking/commentary on social class structure also bring depth to the story. I especially loved a statement made by Boone towards the end of the book, in which he’s able to utilize his experience in a low societal position to best the Alcalde.
Paige Braddock describes the concept of The Martian Confederacy as a bit Dukes of Hazzard, and I was absolutely able to see that in the writing and art. So – kudos to both for seeing that vision through.
Also pleased that McNamara was able to team up with an artist whose style is more to my personal preference. The thick clear lines and expressive faces paired nicely with the fun and swiftly paced storyline. The red colored shading added an extra dimension to the art and book, and fingers crossed that some similar shading makes it into the entire trilogy.
I’m looking forward to spending some more time each of these characters. I enjoyed that they all interacted with one another at some point during the plot – but we got to follow each on their own separate journey. In a book with multiple characters, it’s much easier to group them together…but I applaud McNamara for sending them out on solo missions. It’s definitely an appropriate move for the first book in a series.
And speaking of which – the second Martian Confederacy book: From Mars with Love is due out in October. The three different versions of the cover lean heavily in favor of either a love connection between Boone and Lou, or that she will kick the crap out of him. Whatever happens – I’m in. 🙂
Hearts will be broken, moons will be destroyed and hooch will flow in zero gravity in this sci-fi romantic action comedy set in the year 3535. When someone, or something, starts kidnapping the children of Mars, the planet’s most notorious outlaws band together to rescue them. Off world, out numbered and falling apart from within can the Martian Confederates discover the secret of Phobos before they destroy each other? And does what “happens in space, stay in space?”
Braddock has also posted a few panels of the second installment on The Martian Confederacy blog, and I’m probably even more in love with the art in this sequence than the first book.
I’ll no doubt be taking another trip to Mars sometime in October 2010.