"Dreams of Empire"
Total Recall #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Written by Vince Moore
Art by Cezar Razek
The truth about Mars, the aliens, and
Quaid's role in it all is finally revealed.
Picking up from last issue, the activation of the third ancient
machine has brought liquid water to the surface of Mars, forming
oceans, rivers, and streams. The aliens reveal that they had
been the previous inhabitants of Mars long ago and that their
hubris with technology had caused the destruction of the fourth
planet of the solar system in between Mars and Jupiter (now the
asteroid belt) and the devastation of Mars. Their precognitive
abilities led them to realize their time was over, but that the
creatures of Earth would eventually evolve into beings who would
later colonize Mars. Their machines are responsible for the
human mutants on Mars, an attempt to allow humanity to adapt to
the red planet. They also foresaw that Quaid would become the
hero who would free the planet. The Martians also put their remaining
population into hibernation inside the hollowed out moons,
Phobos and Deimos, to reawaken when the first machine was
activated. They are here now to help humanity take possession of
But, it may be too late for everyone on Mars, as the Northern
Bloc leaders who control the Mars Colony have decided to wipe
out the colony to eliminate the malcontents and start over on
the needed turbinium mines. The Reagan Space Weaponry Platform
is activated in orbit and set to build up the power to fire an immensely
powerful series of shots into the colony.
Vila Cohaagen defies her brother and helps Quaid, Melina, and
Q'd get to the space platform on the Cohaagens' private shuttle.
The three manage to battle their way to the command center of
the platform and abort the process. This gives Quaid another 12
hours before the platform can build up another charge for the
weapon, and he uses the time to secure a peace for Mars in
cooperation with the aliens and the Northern Bloc.
With Mars now at peace and regenerated for renewed life, only
one question remains according to the alien leader, M's's: what
happened to the third moon of Mars?
This mini-series did not have individual issue titles. I've made
up my own title for each issue based on the theme of "dreams",
from the dream/reality dichotomy of the
Total Recall film. This
issue's title, "Dreams of Empire", I borrowed from a line in the
1740 blank verse poem "Hobbinol" by William Somervile.
On page 4, the aliens suggest that the mutants born on Mars
were the result of microscopic machines left behind by them
in the soil of the world, to help the early human colonists
adjust to living on it. The movie
suggests the mutations are due to cheap filtering of the
ultraviolet rays of the sun in Mars' thin atmosphere. The
novelization of the film goes further, suggesting that life
by the workers
breathing in turbinium dust in the mines contributed to the
Also on page 4, the Northern Bloc space battleship
Potemkin arrives in orbit around Mars, along with two
other unnamed battleships,
commanded by Admiral Nimitz. Presumably the Potemkin name
comes from the name of the Russian battleship which was in
service, under a series of names, from 1904-1919 and was
famous for the Potemkin uprising during the Russian
Revolution of 1905. Admiral Nimitz was the name of the
Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during WWII.
After bullets prove ineffective in killing the aliens that
have appeared on Mars, Nimitz informs the Cohaagens that he
has decided to activate the Reagan Space Weaponry Platform.
This is a reference to President Ronald Reagan's Strategic
Defense Initiative, a plan to defend the United States from
ballistic missile attack by both ground and space-based
systems; it never really came to fruition in the manner he
On page 12, M's's tells Melina that his race accidentally
destroyed what was once the fourth planet of the solar
system, now the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. He
also remarks that they turned the two moons of Mars, Phobos
and Deimos, into vessels where his people could hibernate
until Quaid activated the machine on Mars, as prophesied in
their visions. These are references to some real world
The Exploded Planet Hypothesis has been put forth by the late Dr.
Tom Van Flandern (1940-2009) and others to explain the
absence of the expected planet between Mars and Jupiter
according to the Titius-Bode Law of Planetary Spacing;
others have gone on to speculate that the supposed planet
exploded not due to natural forces, but due to either an
errant use of powerful science or technology by a
civilization in the solar system at that time or through
deliberate destruction (it's been speculated by Van Flandern
and others that this could have occurred about 65 million
years ago, the same age as the extinction of the dinosaurs
on Earth, i.e. debris from the exploded planet made up the
asteroid that is believed by most paleontologists to have
struck Earth at that time and led to the dinosaurs
Peculiarities in Phobos' orbit have led to
scientific speculation that the moon is hollow. Recent
readings from the Mars Express probe launched by the
European Space Agency seem to confirm that Phobos is
partially hollow, or porous. Again, fringe researchers have
suggested that Phobos is actually an ancient spacecraft of
Page 14 suggests that Quaid was somehow able to pay
attention to what M's's
was telling Melina even during his hand-to-hand brawl with
Milos at the time!
On page 15, panel 6, Vilas' undershirt is suddenly missing
(the better to show off her cleavage, I guess)!
On page 16, Quaid's narrative says he contacted Melina via
videophone to have her meet him at the spaceport to engage
Vilas' plan. But Melina was already there with him (on page
15) when they discussed it! Possibly there was a later,
unseen, meeting between Quaid and Vilas
to discuss the plan in more detail.
The story ends with Quaid and Melina kissing, just as
Total Recall ended, bringing the cycle back, in a way, to the
question of whether Quaid's adventure is all a memory
The story covered by the 4-issue mini-series seems to take
place over the course of many days, if not weeks. Yet the
characters all wear the same clothes throughout! They must
stink by now.
What happened to the third moon of Mars?
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