Would a cover that says “FIRST ISSUE COLLECTORS ITEM!” lie to you?  (Answer after the jump.)  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Biker Mice From Mars #1 awaits!

Yes.  Yes, it would.


Writer: Rick Ungar & Bob Forward
Penciler: Rurik Tyler
Inker: Gary Fields
Colorist: Pocho Bemko
Letterer: Gary Fields
Editor: Mort Todd
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.00

Previously in Biker Mice From MarsThey’re bikers.

They’re mice.

They’re from Mars.

There.  You’re caught up…

Weeeeellllll, now that you mention it, there might be a little more.  Once upon a time, on Mars, a rice of mouse-like bipeds had a society that was remarkably like Earth, right down to the pop culture references of rock & roll, motorsports and biker culture.  Unfortunately, the alien Plutarkians arrived on Mars and destroyed their world, save for our three heroes: Throttle, Modo and Vinnie.  White-furred Vinnie’s hopes for “the action” is answered when the Biker Mice’s ship (which strangely resembles Rodimus Prime) gets shot down by a pursuing Plutarkian warship,  They land in a stadium (which is meant to be, but as drawn, can’t be Wrigley Field) discovering that they’ve arrived on Earth… in Chicago!

*Clickety to Embiggen*

They quickly put their motorsports skills to use, fleeing into the upper decks where Vinnie decides that, if they’re gonna be on a new planet, they’re still gonna fight for freedome in their own way, putting down a petty criminal in the way that only an alien cyborg rodent on a powerful racing machine can.

As they make their way through the streets, the Mice find the ravaged streets of early-90s Chicago eerily similar to their devastated home-world (which is not, I might add, a particularly flattering sentiment for Chicago), which team ramrod Throttle believes to be significant.

And he’s right.

The realization that this story has an environmentalist theme is a surprise to me, as I was never exposed to the ‘Biker Mice’ back in ’93.  It felt like a little too much of an ersatz ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ for my liking.  This issue actually gets through a lot of information very quickly, and while there are many unanswered questions and bits of illogic, the story reads okay.  I appreciate how Rurik Tyler’s art balances the needs of 90s printing with the vasty different aesthetics of 90s animation, making for an odd (but balanced) blend of the two.  Given that Archie’s ‘TMNT’ series of the same era never quite got that right, it’s good to see it work here.  The leader of the Plutark, now going by the name Mr. Limberger, has vowed to destroy the city as prelude to destroying the world, starting with a down-and-out garage run by Charlotte “Charley” Davidson.  Of course, it’s also where Throttle and company stop for a quick tune-up that quickly turns into a dust-up.

Limberger’s henchman, a Bebop knockoff called Greasepit, is quickly thwarted by three alien cyborgs with killer abs, end with Throttle announcing that the garage is under his protection, setting up the conflict.  Since this three-issue series is an adaptation of the first episode, it seems that they expected more ‘Biker Mice’ issues to come (and, in fact, the final issue ends with a tease for the next and an announcement of how incredibly successful #1 was.)  All in all, Biker Mice From Mars #1 is surprisingly fine, and there’s nothing here that sticks out as incredibly bad (as long as you’re not bothered by mouse/cheese puns) and the expectation of a mercenary ripoff of TMNT is pretty well subverted, leaving the book with a right-down-the-middle 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m honestly pretty impressed with how well it turned out, given that Marvel couldn’t quite nail adaptations like ‘James Bond, Junior’ and ‘Defenders of Dynatron City’ in the same era.  I chose this issue with the expectation that it might be a trainwreck, but instead, I got a well-drawn first chapter of a story that is kind of amusing.  This issue’s science-fiction aspects aren’t any more ridiculous than some of the concepts on ‘Star Trek’, and what’s more, Spock never called anybody ‘Bro.’

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As someone who never saw the original, I was impressed how quickly things got moving here and it makes for a surprisingly entertaining whole.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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