There were no real Lego Space sets after the “Life on Mars” theme, which depicted astronauts working side-by-side with friendly Martians, began and ended in 2001. Sure, there were Star Wars sets to hold us over, but they belonged to another sci-fi universe, not the one Lego had developed since the 1970s. Finally, in 2007, “Mission to Mars” was released. This theme seemed a real return to the Lego Space of old. And if you weren’t sure of that, the astronauts sported the same emblem of the space agency that dominated the first 12 years of Lego Space. There was something odd going on, though. The doe-eyed Martians of the previous Mars theme were replaced with glow-in-the-dark, hostile aliens that looked a bit like, well, the monsters from the movie Aliens. Even stranger, it appeared that our beloved space agency was encroaching on the aliens’ homeworld and plundering its crystals while the angry aliens fought back, only to have the astronauts capture them, encase them in pods, and send them flying all over the planet in pneumatic tubes! It seemed a little too Starship Troopers. However, it has been pointed out that since the aliens are so different from the Martians seen before, it’s possible that the space agency had permission to mine the crystals and were suddenly attacked by the non-Martian Aliens, forcing the astronauts to defend themselves with their mining equipment and any weapons they happened to have on hand. I much prefer the second story, myself.

And here we have it, the first appearance of Commander Schwartz! For some reason, it’s a little weird to me that he didn’t appear in the first comic, but whatever. I don’t believe I had his personality planned out, although it went on naturally from this, and he did star in the initial outline for the “Meteor Madness” story that was the first thing I ever wrote for this comic.

This page still amuses me, and was the basis of the firstSpace Audiobook. And I really like how the background crisply contrasted with the characters.

The introduction of aliens actually caused a problem for me when, IN THE VERY NEXT COMIC, I introduced a story about the UFO aliens, which are meant to be mankind’s first widely-known alien encounter. I later explained that Earth had met the native Martians, but had grown a bit bored of them and now considers real aliens to come from outside the solar system (which I think would happen). I am going to return to the idea of these other aliens terrorizing the Mars astronauts in a future story, but not until after the UFO story plays out.

-This is not an official Lego comic. This is a tribute.

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