As the second issue, Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars #2 has a lot of work to do. While the first issue was enjoyable, the second issue has to build on this and demonstarte an ongoing tone for the series. So, with that in mind, how does this issue hold up?
The official description from Image:
Based on the hit Nerdist podcast! Chased by masked marauders wielding futuristic guns in turn-to-glass mode, Sparks and Croach The Tracker race through the undercity of Mars, an impossible expanse of wonderment that defies human understanding.
This issue is very similar to the last, in that it has a few of the same pitfalls and strengths (of course, I’m not familiar with the original source material). The cold openings are so removed from the actual title that they’ve yet to make any sense. This is a shame, because the meat and bones of this title is generally enjoyable. While it never really stands out in any one direction, it does do everything more or less well, constantly keeping a playful, joyful sense of humor in mind.
In terms of writing, I think the more humorous side of Ben Acker and Ben Blacker is starting to come through. This issue feels a little more fun. This might be because of a greater sense of action, but even the dialogue is a little more snappy, with a few more side-jokes helping to fill out certain pages. It’s not completely consistant, but there’s definately signs of growth. Aside from this, the actual plot is still a little slow and confusing, but perhaps that isn’t the main focus here.
Visually, we still have the same bright and cheerful aesthetics as before, courtesy of J.Bone. Bone’s art is angular and sharp, but this cartoon style helps address the light hearted tone the title is trying to strike. The same goes for the choice of colour. Although lacking shading, the blocky, bright palette helps sell the issue and generally makes the comic as a whole uplifting. That said, the color palette isn’t very diverse.
All in all, this isn’t a bad issue. Sparks Nevada: Marshall on Mars #2 isn’t going to stand out among this weeks releases, but its likely going to have a specific audience in mind, anyway, and they’ll enjoy it.