'Fear of a Red Planet' comic series tells the tale of the 1st murder on Mars

Cover art for 'Fear of a Red Planet' depicting a skull across the surface of Mars.
Cover art for 'Fear of a Red Planet.' (Image credit: AfterShock Comics)

If humanity does indeed eventually colonize Mars, the planet will one day eventually see its first crimes.

The new hybrid sci-fi/Western series "Fear of a Red Planet" from AfterShock Comics is gunning for your pull list with the shocking tale of just that: The first actual murder on the planet Mars.

Written by Mark Sable ("Miskatonic," "Where Starships Go To Die") with illustrations and coloring by Andrea Olimpieri ("Dishonored," "Dark Souls") and lettering courtesy of Dave Sharpe, "Fear of a Red Planet" is a twisty thriller destined to whisk readers into outer space to investigate a mysterious colony death. Infused with the hardboiled Wild West attitude of FX’s "Justified" and the hardcore realistic sci-fi seen in Prime Video's "The Expanse," the series will no doubt resonate with a wide variety of readers.

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Check out the official synopsis:

"Mars. Fifty years from now, humanity’s first Martian colony is no longer self-sustaining. Under the thumb of its corporate mining overlords, the surviving colonists slave away just to pay for resupply rockets from Earth, will little or no hope of returning home.

One woman has kept a fragile peace: the U.N.'s first and only interplanetary marshal.  A lawwoman escaping a violent past on Earth, she prides herself on never having fired a shot on Mars. But when she’s tasked with solving the murder of the colony’s most hated man, her investigation threatens to tear the red planet apart."

Cover art for "Fear of a Red Planet #1." (Image credit: AfterShock Comics)

Sable best describes his latest creative venture as a near-future, sci-fi Western about the first murder on Mars. "Imagine if an Elon Musk type founded a Martian colony, and it failed to be self-sufficient," he explained in an AfterShock press release. "The colonists are forced to mine rare earth minerals just to be able to afford resupply rockets from Earth. Returning home is a distant – if not impossible – dream. There's one woman tasked with keeping order on Mars: Carolina Law, the first and only U.N. Marshal. Scarred by war back on Earth, in the decade she's been on Mars, she's never needed to fire her gun. That's about to change."

A panel from "Fear of a Red Planet #1." (Image credit: AfterShock Comics)

"Fear of a Red Planet" unites two of Sable’s favorite genres and satisfies his intense love of Westerns with classic elements like "High Noon" showdowns and angry mobs surrounding a frontier jailhouse.

"Even more exciting is that I get to help introduce another incredible international artist to the U.S. market – Andrea Olimpieri," Sable adds. "He does both the line art and colors, and from the minute I saw his designs I knew he was the perfect artist for this book and someone the comics world needed to hear more from. I’m also reuniting with two of my favorite collaborators on covers, Paul Azaceta and Jeremy Haun. This is really a dream team.

"There are no supernatural or extraterrestrial threats in this book; it’s the far scarier extrapolation of what billionaire space programs like Mars One, Space X, etc. could lead to…along with the deadly Martian environment itself."

Variant cover art for "Fear of a Red Planet #1." (Image credit: AfterShock Comics)

Presented with premiere issue covers from Paul Azaceta and Jeremy Haun, AfterShock Comics' "Fear of a Red Planet #1" arrives on Nov. 23.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.