Rating: 4/5 – A Gem From the Short Lived Atlas Comics.
By ComicSpectrum Reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
There’s such a great story to the history of Atlas Comics. Atlas was only around for one short year in 1975, yet within that year they produced a wide array of comic books and black and white magazines covering all the different genres such as the Grim Ghost, Weird Tales of the Macabre, and The Hands of the Dragon. Atlas was able to bring together some of the best talents of the time, but unfortunately poor management and inexperienced editing led to the company’s demise. Fortunately these back issues can still be obtained like the one reviewed here, Planet of Vampires. It’s a fun read and is absolutely a creation of it’s time, being released in 1975. There’s definitely a “Planet of the Apes” and “Soylent Green” feel to the book which both released before this first issue.
The cover alone begs you to read it as the heavily underrated Pat Broderick and the legendary Neal Adams contribute to the exciting science fiction image. Add in the rich logo at the top and this book would be hard to ignore when it first hit the stands almost forty years ago. Pat Broderick’s art continues on into the interiors. His art has a clean look to it and he’s tasked to draw a lot of different faces and characters throughout, each with their own distinct look. Even the colors stand out as the whites of the astronauts uniforms contrast nicely with the colorful science fiction and citywide landscapes.
Long-time comic writer Larry Hama tells the story of a group of astronauts on an expedition to the planet Mars return to earth after five years to find it in a much more different and horrific place. Gangs have taken over the streets, while those who live in one of the last bastions of science and civilization the Dome, fight for their survival. All is not what it seems as the astronauts head into the Dome leading to an exciting conclusion that sets the stage for the next issue. At times the scripting and dialogue can be eye-rolling, but considering the time I give Hama a pass. It’s an engaging and fun read, and if you can find the issue it’s definitely recommended. The series only lasted a short three issues due to the collapse of Atlas, but much like the rest of Atlas’ line, this is a high quality book with some talented creators at the helm.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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