Over the last week, many pop culture, science fiction, fantasy, engineering and human endeavour fans have been glued to the news and their favourite social media platforms in order to follow Nasa’s Artemis rocket program.
On November 16th the Artemis I rocket was launched, uncrewed, into lunar orbit with a return leg back to Earth currently in process. It’s a late-stage effort that, over the next three years, will see the program land humans on the moon. Importantly, the program has a longer-term goal of establishing human missions to Mars.
The planet Mars is the twenty-first century’s last frontier. But that won’t be for long.
Although the red planet is, at present, physically unreachable, the Artemis program, led by Nasa along with partners in the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will see humans land, and become a permanent presence on the surface of Mars in the decades to come.
But the speculation of what a human mission to Mars would look like, and the inherent difficulties that come with that enormous endeavour, give way to exciting speculative fiction! The latest offering, in our favourite medium, the monthly comic book, is Fear Of A Red Planet #1.
Created and written by Mark Sable (Miskatonic, Where Starships Go To Die) and lavishly (and noirishly) illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri (Dishonored, Dark Souls) and published by Aftershock Comics, new series, Fear Of A Red Planet, reminisces the frontier land of the American Old West and borrows the troubles and tropes that those settlers experienced – updated for a new age of colonization!
It’s fifty years from today and humans have permanently colonized Mars. Still, life is extremely difficult on such a hazardous frontier and the first Martian colony is no longer self-sustaining. Corporate mining overlords run the show in this hard environment and colonists slave away just to pay for resupply rockets from a war-torn Earth. There’s little to no hope for any return to the home planet for these Martians. Keeping a fragile peace in a place full of unrest that looks to boil over at any moment is not an easy task, but that’s what the U.N.’s first and only interplanetary Marshal does. Carolina Law has never had to fire a shot on Mars, but the murder of the planet’s most hated man will test that clean record as her investigation looks to tear the red planet apart.
Colliding factions between have-not colonists and string-pulling corporate masters is a tale that is ages old in human existence – from the old west to present day to even the not-so-far-flung future.
We know that space is a cold and desolate place. Is there any hope to mankind’s future in that fear-driven, yet fascinating, frontier?
Make like the Artemis rocket and blast off on a round trip to your local comic book shop and then back home again, picking up the thrilling speculative science fiction mystery that is Fear Of A Red Planet #1 in the process.
You can catch the trailer of Fear Of A Red Planet directly below.