Later issues were drawn by Jack Sparling (Secret Six, Pirana), Dan Spiegle (Space Family Robinson, Space Ghost), among other artists. The final issue was #10.
M.A.R.S. Patrol Total War dealt with an invasion of Earth, by unknown invaders, who used teleportation to appear at different locations. They dressed in purple uniforms with a black crab insignia on a yellow circle, using weapons in use at the time, having a night vision device on their helmet.
The invaders make no demands, killing anyone in their path and killing themselves rather than surrender. They were humanoid in appearance, although hairless, with no eyebrows. In one issue a medical examiner revealed their internal organs were slightly different, giving the impression they may be invaders from space.
Opposing them is the M.A.R.S. (Marine Attack Rescue Service) Patrol of the U.S. Marine Corps. The M.A.R.S. Patrol teams consist of commandos, paratroops and guerrillas.
The focus is on one M.A.R.S. Patrol team, composed of Lt. Cy Adams, leader and combat pilot; Corporal Russ Stacey, weapons expert and commando; Sgt. Joe Stryker, demolitions expert and paratrooper; and Sgt Ken Hiro, frogman and skilled martial artist.
The team don green dress uniforms, featuring berets and Vandegrift (waist length) jackets, tarted up with gold Marine Corps insignia, fourragère and U.S. Army type colored scarves. On combat missions, each of the members wore different color combat uniforms, flight suit or wet suit as required. Adams in yellow, Stryker in orange, Hiro in light green, and Stacey in blue.
M.A.R.S. Patrol Total War #8 featured a temporarily captured invader who spoke English and related a small bit to his captors about the invader's world that was running out of raw materials and sought them from the Earth.
Another issue featured an invader female undercover agent who may have fallen in love with Russ Stacey.
A wide range of military equipment was used, the OV-10 Bronco (turbo prop attack aircraft) and the F-104 Starfighter aircraft as well as experimental vehicles like the Bell Rocket Belt, Piasecki Flying Jeep (two man VTOL rotocraft) and one-man gyrocopters. Laser tanks, unmanned aerial vehicle recon drones, and VTOL (Vertical Takeoff & Landing) jets were also featured.
Surprisingly the infantry weapons seemed a little outdated: Thompson sub-machine guns, B.A.R.s (Browning Automatic Rifle), water-jacketed M1917 Browning machine guns and the old M-9 Bazooka. This was later fixed in the series by introducing the "new" M14 and M79 grenade launcher. In some issues an inside back cover fillers featured new and experimental weapons of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Its unclear how much involvement Wally Wood had with the creation of the comic. As he followed this title with his spy-fi work on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, which had many of the same themes. Wood may have had some involvement with the series.
|Great Trade Paperback of Wally Wood's M.A.R.S. Patrol issues!|
Dark Horse Comics reprinted the first three issues in a nice trade paperback.
It would be great to see the other issues reprinted in trade paperback as well, or perhaps the entire series in a nice hardback edition including the fillers as Hermes Press has done with other Gold Key Comics.
Live Large My Friends!
|From M.A.R.S. Patrol #5|
|From M.A.R.S. Patrol #3|