Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Roberto Meli
Colorist: Chiara Di Francia
Letterer: Mattia Gentili
Cover Artists: Roberto Meli; Mili Montlló; & Emanuele Gizzi; Brent McKee
Release Date: September 20, 2023
Twenty years hence, dwindling resources drive people into the streets. As states invoke martial law to quell riots and corporations battle to control Earth’s remaining resources, can one man succeed where governments failed? Let’s warp into Traveling To Mars #8 and find out!
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Roy Livingstone is a dying man. Unlucky in love and business, he faces his final days alone. Why not do something for his planet before his cancer kills him? So he boards a ship with two robots and shoots into space. If he can stake claim to Mars’ mineral wealth, perhaps he’ll feel like he contributed to a better future and can bask in the glow of reaching another planet. That is until his oxygen runs out.
It’s been six long months, but Roy’s finally arrived. As he prepares to leave the Erimhon, Roy indulges in a final morning of escapism. Packing up prompts reflections on what drives Human progress. A chat with folks back home grants insight into how we chart our journey through life. As his shuttle descends, Traveling To Mars #8 suggests that knowing you will die soon doesn’t rob fear of its power.
Perhaps it’s unrealistic to believe we could build a space elevator in the next two decades, let alone set up an interplanetary supply system. Mark Russell dreams big in his satire-laced Traveling To Mars #8, even suggesting we could terraform Mars in a few generations! With corporations in the United States regularly traveling outside Earth’s atmosphere and other countries getting into the Space Race, perhaps Russell’s vision isn’t impossible. Should Humanity realize his vision, let’s hope the situation on Earth isn’t as dire as he paints it.
Roberto Meli delivers action aplenty, with kangaroos punching cowboys, a drone racing toward an oil platform, and Roy’s shuttle hurtling through Martian skies. Even smaller moments—like the glances Roy shares with his robots—shine thanks to lifelike portrayals and attention to detail. We see how life has ground Roy down through his expressions and movements. Yet the Martian future he imagines inspires awe.
The red planet casts a warm glow into space as Traveling To Mars #8 opens. Stars twinkle as the Erimhon travels through the multi-hued vacuum. The blue-and-white robot Albert plants a flag in the yellow, orange, and red regolith while Roy stands bemused beneath a textured lavender sky. Light sources gleam, and highlights and shadows ground characters and structures. Pages shine thanks to the depth and nuance Chiara Di Francia creates with his vast array of appealing colors.
Mattia Gentili reveals the characters’ speech with black uppercase words in white dialogue balloons. Roy’s thoughts appear as lowercase words in colored boxes. The latter may strain the eyes as Mark Russell dishes out an ample serving of narrative-driven drama. Yet balloon and box sizes scale nicely within panels. Like Roy, we’re amazed he arrives in one piece, thanks to the colorful and expressive sound effects that convey the shuttle’s high-speed descent.
As Roy reaches his destination, Traveling To Mars #8 illustrates the coming apocalypse and hints there’s still time to make our future brighter.