Mars Attacks Popeye (written by Powell, M, art by Beatty, T., 2013)

Do you remember Mars Attacks!? That Tim Burton helmed movie from the mid 90's, where a martian race that had huge, bulging brains attacked the Earth and in which Jack Nicholson had a dual role and ended up being killed twice in one movie? If you don't, maybe this will kindle some kind of a spark:
Handsome fella, ain't he?
I've thought that was the last of it: a silly sci-fi flick with a strong strain of dark humour. I was wrong, the series, that started up as a collectible card thingy in the 1960's has lasted to this day in form of comics, especially crossover comics. One of which is Popeye. Yes, that same sailor man, who likes his spinach:

Now here's a man who knows that violence is the answer to a lot of problems.
So, yeah. While I wasn't really expecting to see more of Mars Attacks!, I was less expecting to see a crossover comic with Popeye. World is a funny place like that. IDW comics has also done other crossovers with Mars Attacks!, like with Ghostbusters, Judge Dredd and Transformers. So, again, yeah, why not Mars Attacks! Popeye.

I do think the whole Popeye/Mars Attacks! is an interesting little mix. It does feel very much like a Popeye comic (or at least what I recall of them, as it has been time since I've read any) and the style of comedy it has going on seems fitting in tone. It's not a complicated nor an extremely well though out of a story, but then again, that's not really what Popeye is known for, I believe. The attack of the martians is just an excuse to let Popeye dunk a tin of spinach and let it loose.

I didn't find the comic itself laugh out funny. It's more of an amusing little idea, that carries to the end more or less the way I'd imagine a typical Popeye comic would, but instead of handing it to Bluto, Popeye teaches the Martians a thing or two. Unlike in the movie, we don't see any humans dying, so there's no surprise deaths around. No reason to fret about seeing Olive or Alice the Goon getting fried. Also, the style of violence that is shown feels very much in par what the Popeye comics have always had.

And that, I think is the most interesting aspect about this whole thing: how much it looks and feels like a genuine Popeye tale. It isn't re-inventing Popeye nor is it trying to make something of Popeye he's not, despite the Martians probably are more violent than any other being in the original world of Popeye. The whole thing ends up with a smack down and a hardy laugh and I guess, with Popeye in mind, that's enough.

As I said, I never did imagine I'd be seeing a crossover story with Popeye and Mars Attacks! Martians, but none the less, here it is. I don't think it's the greatest thing I've seen in my life, but it is amusing enough for what it is, if not very enduring piece of entertainment.

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