Monday, November 10, 2014

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 - A Review

Some may call reviving John Carter: Warlord of Mars a fool's errand.  Did the public not already make it clear they had no interest in this property after Disney's John Carter bombed?  Weren't Marvel's John Carter comics a creative disaster on every level? Did anyone buy Dynamite Comics' earlier Warlord of Mars and Dejah Thoris comics for reasons other than collecting all the fan-service heavy covers?

At first John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 offers little hope that it will be better, as it opens with warrior princess Dejah Thoris in bondage and at the mercy of an unseen villain. And then, an amazing thing as one turns the pages.  She test the chains.  She stands up when the villain enters her cell.  She carries herself as a queen and a warrior as she questions him. And she strikes out at her captor, revealing why they should have chained her legs as well as her arms.

It was at that point that I knew we were in for something special.  No fan-service heavy fantasy here, boys and girls!  This was to be pulp action the way it was meant to be.  And if the opening scenes were not proof of that, the exposition regarding the world of Barsoom killed whatever doubts I had left.

With this book, Ron Marz crafts an epic worth of the name.  His script is filled to the brim with the same dry humor and raw action that made the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs so memorable and the inspiration for a goodly portion of modern science fiction and fantasy. They even call Carter a superman, in reference to the fact that it was he - not Kal-El Of Krypton - who first leaped tall buildings in a single bound to protect his adopted home planet.

The artwork by Abhishek Malsuni perfectly captures the essence of Barsoom. His depictions of the various exotic creatures and races of Mars stays true to the general descriptions in the novels while remaining unique.  His Dejah Thoris is drawn as a shapely but strong woman, with strength and steel under her silky skin.  The strong pencils and defining inks are further enhanced by a wonderful color mix, chosen by color artist Nanjan Jamberi.

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