The opening narrative of this story indicates it takes place
in August 1981.
Panel 12 on pages 1-2 depict the Control Sphere as the one
to the left of the launch tower from
our "camera view". Yet "The Dalotek Affair" depicts it as
the one to the right (Sphere #3).
This story reveals that Earth has a small mining survey base
The surveyors on Mars apparently are aware of the existence
of the UFOs and Moonbase's role in stopping them. Perhaps
Earth's governments felt the need to inform them of it from the
start on the chance that the alien ships would attempt human
abductions of the small group.
Lewis in particular seems to be familiar with Harlington-Straker Studios
on Earth and knows that it is secretly the headquarters of
SHADO. This tends to suggest that he (and possibly other
members of the Mars mining expedition) is a member of the
organization, not just part of a standard or civilian space
exploration program. And page 11 of the story states the
mining expedition is sponsored by SHADO. But, if so, why is
SHADO interested in conducting mining surveys on Mars? Maybe
they want to find out if Mars has the resources to build and
support a fully-staffed SHADO base to provide
additional surveillance and interception of UFOs?
The art of panel 7 on page 4 makes Moonbase look impossibly
enormous on the surface of the Moon!
Straker orders Foster to take a lunar module to investigate the
situation on Mars. And Foster is able to arrive at the
planet and return to Moonbase in mere hours! This is
impossible. SHADO does not have anything approaching the
speed of the UFOs in space. It would take five months or
more at Mars' closest approach to Earth to fly there with
our own current technology and even with SHADO's slightly more
advanced technology, the TV show still depicts relatively
slow-moving space vehicles, not to mention the fuel
requirements of such a rapid trip.
Astronaut Jack Lewis on Mars is seen wearing a spacesuit
similar to the ones worn by Moonbase personnel during a
Lewis drives a Mars buggy that is a different design than
any other vehicle seen in the series.
Besides the typical UFOs seen in the
TV series, this story also provides
a look at a larger alien spacecraft
as well as small, one-man flyers.
As the aliens chase the running Lewis across the Martian
wastes in their flyers, Lewis just happens to fall through a
thin layer of surface to the mine shaft below, saving his
life while leaving the aliens believing he's finished.
On page 9, panel 7 of the story,
Straker is using the screen in his
office, which normally displays
abstract light patterns, to display
of the planet Mars as he goes over
his plan to rescue Lewis from the
This story reveals that an arsenal of interplanetary missile launchers are
hidden in the craters
around Moonbase. These missles are capable of targeting and
striking points on and near Mars (and presumably other
planets in the solar system if needed), again an
unlikely-to-exist technology in the SHADO depicted in the TV
series. Apparently these missiles are only for such
long-range targets as later episodes
"The Cat With Ten
Lives" and "Reflections in the Water" fail to depict these
crater-based missile launchers in favor of mobile rocket
launcher vehicles when Moonbase is directly threatened by
UFOs. But, on page 13, the Moonbase interplanetary missiles rather easily destroy the
alien missiles launched from Mars targeting SHADO HQ. If
it's that easy, why don't they use them more often against
UFOs instead of relying on the Interceptors?
In this story, SID is depicted has being armed with a laser
beam capable of shooting all the way to Mars! Why didn't SID
use this laser to defend itself from the UFOs that damaged
the satellite earlier in
"Too Old at
32"? One might argue that the laser was added after the
events of that story, but the later episode
"The Man Who Came Back" also depicts SID being damaged
by a UFO and still no laser to defend itself. Of course, we
see no evidence throughout the TV series that SHADO has any
laser defense technology.
Page 12 states that Lewis is dangerously low on water and
food. Yeah? What about air? He's been in that same spacesuit
since the beginning of the story! And just how much time has
passed? Seemingly no more than a couple of days, but surely
his oxygen tank would have expired by now! We could argue
that he found spare tanks in the mine and possibly spare
water and food pouches for his suit as well.
Panel 8 of pages 11-12 depicts the lunar module landing
horizontally on the Martian surface. If it can land
horizontally (and presumably take off again), why does SHADO
land it vertically at Moonbase in all other appearances? It
seems like it would be much easier to land in the horizontal
This story reveals that the lunar module is apparently
capable of carrying a SHADO Mobile inside it! Foster takes
one with him for use on Mars.
Oddly, the final two-page chapter of this story changes the
title from "The Force Field" to "Invasion from Mars".
This story reveals that Straker can use the code word
"sidewinder" to order all available SHADO Mobiles to form a
around SHADO HQ. But wouldn't the civilian employees of
Harlington-Straker Studios notice a little thing like that?!
How were the aliens able to project a force field entirely
What was SHADO's interest in Mars mining in the first place?
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