I always enjoy it when a classic tale is translated from the written word to the comics format. That’s what is happening to the wonderful tales originally penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs by Dynamite! for Warlord of Mars.
Here’s the description for the 25th issue, in stores as of Wednesday, May 22: “It’s Judgment Day on Mars. Everything John Carter has achieved has lead him to this final confrontation with the cruel tyrant of the Martian north. But he’s going to be so busy commanding his army that he’s not going to be able to rescue Dejah Thoris this time – she’s going to have to rescue herself! And even if Carter is victorious, he has upset the ancient religion of Mars and smashed the red planet’s eons-old customs. What will be his reward? The epic battle to unite all of Mars awaits you in Warlord of Mars #25: The Final Reward!”
Of course, the basis for these stories is that John Carter, a native of Earth, has found himself transported to Mars, where his own physical abilities have been enhanced by the change of planet. Also, he meets what he considers to be exotic and interesting aliens, and he falls in love with (and marries) Dejah Thoris, who is attractive as she can be.
If you haven’t read the Burroughs stories before and were wondering why this comic is called Warlord of Mars, you’re going to find out why in this issue.
I’ve long enjoyed Arvid Nelson’s writing, and he delivers another strong issue this month. Mr. Nelson is able to translate the Burrough’s epics into characters we care about and plots that are fast-paced and intriguing. I never can turn the pages fast enough!
Everton Sousa’s art is clear and dynamic, so you won’t be confused when seeing the various aliens, who don’t always appear human. In fact, one of John Carter’s closest friends on Mars is Tars Tarkas, a huge green-skinned, multi-armed fighter who has proven to be an able ally and a wise inhabitant who can discern what’s best for all involved, not just the native Martians.
One of the interesting things to note in this comic is that the red-skinned females in the novels are naked. In comics, of course, that just won’t fly, so the beautiful princesses and other women have enough clothing to cover the parts that need covering while still showing enough to communicate the appearance Mr. Burroughs originally intended.
In fact, Nelson has done a magnificent job of making these stories fit our current sensibilities. After all, Burroughs was writing these tales around 100 years ago, and they weren’t nearly as, shall we say, “sensitive” to racial issues as audiences today prefer. Nelson has weeded out the parts that would distract readers from the stories while maintaining the powerful core that made these stories the classics they deserve to be. Not an easy task, I’m sure!
There is action and drama aplenty, as usual, and while this is a conclusion of sorts, this isn’t the last in this successful series of Dynamite! comics. There are plenty of issues ahead, thank goodness, so we can all enjoy the continuing adventures of John Carter and Dejah Thoris in the months to come.
By the way, Dynamite! also has a Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris comic as well. While Mr. Nelson doesn’t write those, I’ve enjoyed that monthly title as well, so I recommend both to anyone who wants a powerful story that gives good variety!
You can check out the two covers below: