Back in the 1950's, during the heady early days of The Space Race, Archie Comics came up with Cosmo the Merry Martian. The guy only had 7 issues that would later get serialized, but would gain some recognition after longtime Archie artist Fernando Ruiz kept sticking him in little cameos. Cosmo is a 2018 reboot of the Cosmo the Merry Martian miniseries by Ian Flynn and Tracy Yardley (whose work you might be familiar with).
An Earthling astronaut, the courageous Captain Max Strongjaw, is left adrift in the empty wastes between Earth and Mars after his ship's power fails; his life is saved when a passing Martian captain (the titular Cosmo) and his crew of explorers, en route to investigate a Distress Call from Earth's moon, bring the stranded ship aboard their own, much larger vessel. Cosmo wins over Max's initial distrust and paranoia, and Max agrees to accompany them on their rescue mission in return for a safe passage home — but the Earthling quickly finds himself in over his head in a galaxy full of mad science, lunar zombies, and Venusian battle princesses...
- Accidental Misnaming: Max can't seem to get Cosmo's name right.
- Ace Pilot: Astra, who generally plays The Lancer to Cosmo.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Max frees Cosmo and Jojo from the video game with no idea that there was anything wrong in issue #5.
- Action Girl: Not so much Medulla, but Astra qualifies. As does the villainous Cleo; "Venusian Battle Princess" is the sort of ominous title one has to earn.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Averted with Cosmo and his crew. They're actually pretty stoked about encountering a human.
- Aliens Speaking English: Max freaks out when he realizes the aliens know his language.
- Amusement Park of Doom: An abandoned alien theme park with an SOS distress beacon emanating from it? Yeah, that sounds like fun.
- Berserk Button: Anyone else attempting to fly while Astra is present. She won't even let Max onto the bridge of the Ufo for fear he might touch something; Cosmo convinces her to leave him to a firefight by implying that if she doesn't, someone else — likely Orbi — will have to fly their shuttlecraft.
- Big Eater: Orbi. When the Ufo crashes, his primary concern is eating all the food in the galley before it spills or spoils.
- Buffy Speak:
- Max Strongjaw slips into this early into issue #1:"The Sagittarius has lost all power en route to Mars. It's cold. Dark. And even my iron will is starting to fold like... not-iron... stuff."
- And again in #3. At this point he's beginning to just make words up."This may be where I fall, but I will show these aliens the bravery, tenacity, and strength-ity of humanity!"
- And then it turns out Cosmo does it too.Cosmo: I owe you an apology [...] When we brought your ship on board, it was to save you. Now we're going to die in a very fangy-gnawy way. Some rescue mission this turned out to be.
Max: Yes... well... you also did me a favor. I always wanted to go out as a space-adventurer. Being devoured by moon-mutants is about as space-adventurery as you can get!
- Max Strongjaw slips into this early into issue #1:
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Captain Max Strongjaw subverts this trope to a tee, particularly his cowardliness and poor decision making in spite of his personality and heroic build, although his casually tossed-off reference to the Theia hypothesis suggests he may have some Hidden Depths.
- Cephalothorax: Lunites, both ordinary natives and zombified Lunatiks.
- Cheesy Moon: Played with; while the Moon is not made out of it, the medals that the Lunites give to the heroes are.
- Chekhov's Skill: At the start of issue #5, Max mentions how awesome his video game skill are. At first it seems that he's just boasting, but when he takes control of the video game-trapped Cosmo, he proves to be an amazing gamer, completing the game in one sitting with no continues. An arcade video game, mind you!
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Medulla has some traits of this, the foremost being her complete ignorance of priorities like not dying when there's SCIENCE! to be done.Medulla: Could we maybe slow down just a bit? I'm having a hard time getting a clear reading while we flee in terror.
Orbi: Medulla — seriously?!
Medulla: I know, you're right, but these creatures look so unique...
- Continuity Reboot: To the old-timey Cosmo the Merry Martian miniseries.
- Cower Power: When they're jumped by an unknown threat, Max's first instinct is to grab Astra and attempt to hide behind her, despite being twice her size. Of course, this may just be good sense — Astra's armed, he isn't.
- Deadpan Snarker: Astra and especially Orbi fill this role; Cosmo is just too nice to snark consistently.Orbi: Are all Earthlings like you?
Max: I like to think of myself as a unique specimen.
Orbi: One can only hope.
- Drunk on Milk: Thanks to Bizarre Alien Biology, Medulla can get completely plastered on apple juice and other fruit flavors.
- Evil Gloating: As demonstrated by Cleo, at greater length than necessary.Max: Is everyone from Venus that exposition-y?
Cosmo: Comes with the job. I sat in on one of their training seminars.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Cosmo and Astra carry "concussive stun blasters", the name of which implies that they aren't lethal (Cosmo is annoyed by the term "death ray"). Still effective if you need to blow out a door or a window, though.
- Fastball Special: When Orbi has a minor panic attack over having to jump out of the shuttle (he's afraid of heights... and a lot of other things), Astra picks him up bodily and flings him out of the open hatch — straight into Cleo, knocking her flat.
- Human Aliens: The Martians are child-sized humanoids with Pointy Ears and pastel skin colors. Max, who was apparently expecting Starfish Aliens, is repeatedly caught off guard by how human-like they turn out to be: upon stumbling into the showers, he immediately assumes they serve some other, more nefarious purpose, and when Cosmo shows him the captain's quarters he is actually surprised by the presence of an ordinary bed.
- I Choose to Stay: Cosmo's original deal with Max was to take him home to Earth after their business on Luna was finished. Max, rather to Cosmo's delight, points out that they still don't know what the whole conspiracy was all about and their business won't be finished until they investigate it.Max: If I go back now, I'll be locked into months of tests and depositions. Who knows what evil those Venusians will get up to in that time?
- Ignored Enemy: Played with. Instead of getting into an argument while fighting Cleo, Max and Cosmo begin discussing the Fire-Forged Friends trope, complimenting one another, and finally shake hands right in front of her. Unfortunately, being ignored is Cleo's Berserk Button.
- Improvised Weapon: Max embarrasses himself trying to do this when Cosmo corners him in the showers. He turns on the nearest showerhead and threatens to drench Cosmo with whatever "vile liquid" is coming out of it, only to be told that it's water. Max then turns the water up hotter and hides in the cloud of steam until he can jump Cosmo and take him hostage... but the sharp object he thought he was threatening Cosmo with turns out to be a rather blunt bar of soap.
- Insistent Terminology:
- Cosmo's ship is a UFO, but it's pronounced "you-foe" — he's annoyed that Max spells out the acronym instead. (Max facepalms when he finds out the Ufo has a shuttlecraft called the Tufo.)
- Cosmo is offended when Max asks to borrow his "Martian death ray".Cosmo: "Death ray"?! It's a concussive stun blaster!
Max: You say "blaster", I say "victory"!
- Keep Away: Done by Cosmo, Orbi, and Max when they nab Cleo's staff.Astra: Aw, man! I love keep-away! Thinking practically, I could swoop down and really get it out of range...I could also just run Cleo over. ...Choices...
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Max. With a surname like "Strongjaw", anything else would've had been a travesty.
- Little Green Men: Played with. The Martians are diminutive and have weird skin and hair colors, but they aren't green and don't have antennae; in fact, if you're green it means you're from Venus.
- Lunarians: Although they're technically called Lunites.
- Mars Needs Water: Also averted. In fact, Martians take more precautions with their water, according to Cosmo — he thinks it's weird that Earthlings leave all their water right up on the surface where it can get dirty.
- Matriarchy: Implied, in the case of Venus; the monarch (Hesper) and all the military leaders (the Battle Princesses) are female.
- Mind-Control Device: Cleo's staff is how she orders the zombified Lunites around; this is discovered when Orbi yanks it away from her and suddenly finds the Lunatiks obeying him.
- The Most Dangerous Video Game/Trapped in TV Land: The booby-trapped arcade game Cosmo gets sucked into. Max has to get Cosmo and his fellow hostages (Jojo and an Arcadean) out of the game by playing Cosmo all the way through it.
- Mundane Utility:
- Max finds a floating sphere in the galley with a bunch of knives embedded in it; he asks what kind of weapon it is, and Astra tells him that it really is just their knife rack. Although there was this one time...
- There's many other mundane uses of Anti-Gravity technology aboard the Ufo, including suspensor chairs (there's one in Cosmo's quarters) and a floating punching bag in the ship's gym; the gym also contains a barbell whose weight can be dialed up or down.Cosmo: The bar here can be set to any weight, even zero-G if you just want to do reps.
Orbi: Yeah... just reps... *ahem!*
- Never Split the Party: After Medulla detects a strange life sign in the abandoned park and wanders away from the group, Orbi bemoans her ignorance of this trope and runs after her.
- Noodle Incident: Cosmo's crew seem to have a lot of these in their background.Astra: Ugh... This is Terta Nova 3 all over again, isn't it?
Cosmo: Yes, but this time we all have our pants.
- The Pigpen: Lunites, surprisingly enough. We find out that they consider it an extraordinary sacrifice to have to take two baths a year.
- Planet of Hats: Arcadea, an alien resort planet devoted entirely to games.
- Properly Paranoid: Medulla, oddly enough. Her insistence on installing four extra inertial dampeners in her lab, just in case the Ufo loses its stabilizers and goes out of control, results in her being the only person not being knocked around like a pinball when it actually happens.
- Protagonist Title
- Puny Earthlings: Earth technology, what we see of it, is rather behind those of the Martians and other aliens. Medulla admits to being impressed that humans reached the Moon with the primitive methods available to them in 1969, but points out that Martians had not only been to Luna by then, they had built an amusement park on the far side. (The park went bust, incidentally, after a better one was built back home under Olympus Mons.)
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Orbi's main weapon. In a tight corner, he pops a pair of force-field "blades" out of his arm guards and proceeds to wildly flail his way out of danger, flinging even Cleo aside and breaking a ladder in the process.Orbi: NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!
- Reality Ensues: Max Strongjaw tries to shoot out the windows to create Explosive Decompression when he finds himself trapped in an office building with hordes of mutants; unfortunately, he's forgotten that the entire park is pressurized and shooting out the window won't actually do anything other than to create an escape route.
- Russian Reversal: On Arcadea, the test-your-strength machines punch you.Alien: That was awesome! What's my score?
Computer Voice: Thirty-point-two meters!
Alien: Aww! So close!
- She Knows Too Much: The reason for the booby-trapped game's existence. A juice-bar owner overheard a phone conversation involving a certain Battle Princess Shih, who accidentally mentioned some extremely incriminating information in front of her; Shih jury-rigged the game and trapped her in it to keep her from blowing the whistle until long after Shih was gone.
- Shoot Out the Lock: Following an SOS beacon signal leads Cosmo, Astra, and Max to a locked building. As Cosmo speculates about how to get in, Astra pulls her gun and blows the doors clean off the hinges.Cosmo: This is private property!
Astra: Abandoned private property. Now let's go find the source of the SOS.
- Shout-Out: Not uncommon, but the video game Cosmo and Jojo get stuck in is loaded with them. A single two-page spread crams in references to Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Dragon's Lair, Kirby (complete with a blatant King Dedede expy), Contra, Altered Beast, and pretty much any game where your character has to fight their Evil Twin. The variant cover for this issue is an homage to the classic American Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge boxes, and the "next issue" box on the final page reads simply "See You Next Mission!"
- The Smart Guy: Medulla, the resident scientist, as instantly distinguished by her white lab coat and diamond-shaped Nerd Glasses.
- Space Opera: Complete with Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, exotic interstellar locales, and exploration. Ironically, Max looks like the square-jawed space hero you'd expect to be the stereotypical lead, but he's stuck in a supporting role.
- Squee!: Very likely when Astra's around neat hardware.Salesman: Now you look like a lady who knows a bargain when she sees it. Like, say, this trilithium razzinazzer?
Astra: ! note
- Standard Human Spaceship: The Sagittarius has a more utilitarian design, and a much less flashy paint job, than the Ufo.
- Team Pet: Jojo, a four-eyed alien dog.
- Voluntary Shapeshifter: Jojo's powers enable him to get out of danger rapidly.Max: ...Did your dog just turn into a ladder?
Cosmo: What's a "dog"?
- Walking the Earth: The interplanetary equivalent. When Max asks about the Martians' superiors, he's informed that they don't have any.Cosmo: My friends and I travel the system for the sake of adventure and discovery.
Max: (smiles) Is that a fact? I like the sound of that.
- We Will Meet Again: Queen Hesper. When an embarrassed Cleo calls in to report that she's been thwarted, Hesper assures her that her chance for revenge will come — they have unfinished business with Cosmo.
- Win to Exit: In issue #5, Cosmo and Jojo are trapped inside an arcade video game, alongside other unfortunate souls, by Battle Princess Shih. The only way out is to win the game. Thankfully, Max turned out to be an excellent gamer, controlling Cosmo to victory in a perfect run, without actually knowing about the whole "trapped in a video game" situation.
- Wrong Assumption: Jumping to conclusions on insufficient evidence is practically Max's defining character trait.