Thursday, September 29, 2011

Science Addiction: Invasion '55 (Apple Comics, 1990)

I love sci-fi movies of the 50's...especially those that fall under the "Alien Invasion" category. It Came From Outer Space. Invaders From Mars. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers. In those movies, there is nothing more dreadful than a saucer full of little, green bug-eyed baddies with giant laser guns, prancing around the suburbs and zapping all of the housewives, dogs, and policemen into oblivion.

Apple Comics and writer Chuck Dixon (Robin, Birds of Prey) came up with a cool idea at the turn of the 90' tap into some of that 50's sentiment towards U.F.O.'s and aliens and bring it back to the forefront in comic form. And together with international artist Lito Fernandez, they did just that. Invasion '55 is a three-issue series about a small town in New Mexico dealing with an alien invasion in the fall of 1955.

And to those that have watched and enjoyed a 50's sci-fi movie, there really isn't anything new here as far as the story goes. The aliens land, we witness them being discovered...and then watch as they begin killing everyone that gets in their way. A greaser named Ricky watches as his friend gets fried into a bucket of KFC by one of the aliens, but is able to defend himself and escape with one of the alien's guns.

 Ricky proceeds to run around town only to find everyone else is dead and the aliens seem to have taken over. These particular aliens are a strange bunch. They sport satyr-style legs and helmets out of Star Wars, apparently don't say much and like to throw dead humans into a giant pit. There is no warning, no declaration of war...nothing. Just a bunch of weird-looking aliens getting ready to make the world's largest human bonfire.

Besides Ricky, the other characters in the story include a boozing Air Force pilot who is in flight during the invasion, and a young boy named Jimmy who makes a wild discovery of an underground network of the aliens while looking for his teacher.

Dixon's writing is good and maintains the feel of a 1950's sci-fi invasion movie. The story's one downfall is that it doesn't introduce anything new or exciting to the concept. It's really just an homage to the movies it's portraying here, simple as that. Fernandez's artwork is fantastic though, and gives the story much life. He inserts tiny little details into his drawings here and there, and really gives you the feeling that you're witnessing an invasion during that time period.

I've only had the pleasure of reading the first issue, but my interest was perked enough to seek out the rest of the series. Invasion '55 is nothing complicated or mind-shattering, just a fresh take on the alien invasion genre in simpler times...when life was easier, safer and innocent...and complete hysteria was triggered by flying U.F.O.'s and the outpouring of man-killing aliens. Check it out.


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