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Comic Book Review: Battle Smash Vs. The Saucer Men From Venus by Dale Mettam & Armando Zanker

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Lucha libre is that peculiar form of Mexican masked wrestling that combines gaudy costumes, musclebound heroes and over-the-top villains with heavy doses of drama, spectacle and convoluted displays of physical prowess. It's no wonder, then, that lucha is so readily adapted to the comic strip medium, for both deal in archetypes, rather than brand-personas, as in WWE, for example (whose attempts thus far at producing comics featuring US wrestling stars invariably come across as cynical marketing tools).

We begin with our heroes, Team Battle Smash, dangling from the face of Big Ben, while all around them flying saucers piloted by typically repellent, bulbous-headed aliens lay waste to London. Always irrepressible in the face impending defeat, Team Battle Smash are characterized by their constant wise-cracking, sarcasm, in-fighting and, at times, utter irrelevance, to the degree that, even in the dire circumstance of facing certain doom at the hands of rampaging alien invaders, one of the team still finds it necessary to remark that he has just found a butterfly.

Battle Smash Vs. The Saucer Men From Venus is zip-along, wise-ass superheroing for kids of all ages. The artwork is colorful and vibrant, the script punchy, sharp and refreshingly free from the taint of worldliness that makes many of the more "grown up" comics such a deadly bore. We are talking guys in lurid spandex fighting little green men from Venus here, after all.

All in all, Team Battle Smash display the kind of gleefully inept heroics that made Keith Giffen-era Justice League such a breath of fresh air and is the perfect counterpoint to the Kick-Ass school of modern (i.e. cynical, ultra-violent) superheroics.

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