Dejah of Mars #1 (Comics Review)

Earlier this year, Dynamite’s Warlord of Mars series of comics based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ many John Carter novels celebrated the landmark #100 issue, which brought three really different and interesting stories that added significantly to the continuing tale of John Carter, Dejah Thoris and the world of Barsoom, which we also know as Mars, the Red Planet. One of the stories in this issue was Mark Rahner and Jose Luis’ “Stay” in which Woola tries again and again to keep safe John Carter from whatever he is up to but is forced to sit by the side every time by the Warlord of Mars. It was a fierce and intense story that really touched a chord with me, in part due to Luis’ amazing work.

And then this week I saw that Dynamite had released a new Barsoomian series that continued from where that story by Mark Rahner left off. John Carter is now missing and so is an artifact from the treasure vaults of the city of Helium. It is up to Dejah and her son Carthoris to clear John Carter’s name and to find him before others who are convinced of his supposed treason get to him. When I’d finished Stay I had no idea that there would be a continuation, but Mark Rahner and Jethro Morales do exactly that and they do it in style as well.

Dejah of Mars 001Let me just say that for Dejah Thoris to get a second series of her own is pretty damn spectacular. For the last few years she’s been a steady presence in Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris and has also featured in several mini-series. Whereas Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris deals with Dejah’s past hundreds of years before she ever met John Carter, Dejah of Mars instead deals with the concurrent timeline of Warlord of Mars and I think that’s a pretty good differentiation and concept. John Carter has gotten up to some amazing adventures of his own in his own comic, and it is time now for his wife and lover Dejah to prove herself once again, in that she is every bit as awesome and badass as he is, if not more so and I certainly lean towards the second option.

In Dejah of Mars #1, we see how Mark Rahner picks up from where Stay left off by having Woola return to Dejah in Helium and tell her in his own way that something has happened to John Carter and that she needs to do something about it. Of course, it is also soon discovered that before the Warlord of Mars left off in the middle of the night, he also took one of Helium’s treasures with him and that has earned him a sentence of treason, despite all the work that he has done to bring peace and prosperity to the world.

Mark Rahner’s story here touches on a lot of different concepts and it gives a full view of what is happening in Barsoom even though some mysteries Rahner keeps as mysteries, not willing to divulge everything, and that was just fine. We indeed see some scenes with John Carter here as we are introduced to his… allies and what they might intend. But the real star of this issue is the titular character. Dejah has always been a fascinating character of me and when both the Warlord of Mars and Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris series started under the pen of Arvid Nelson, she was pretty damn awesome. Mark Rahner’s script here evokes that same Dejah and for me that was extremely gratifying. Rahner definitely understands who Dejah is and what she is, and he just rolls off from there.

Handling the art on this issue are Jethro Morales who joins Salvatore Aiala Studios (colours) and Marshal Dillon (letters). The pencils are quite different from those of Jose Luis in Stay but since Salvatore and Marshal are returning here with Mark Rahner there is still a strong measure of artistic consistency to the new series in context to that landmark issue and that consistency is what ultimately sells it. It also helps that Jay Anacleto and Ivan Nunes cover to this issue is pretty damn good as well.

For a series that I did not know was starting off this week, Dejah of Mars #1 has definitely proven to be quite awesome, and I’m really looking forward to more soon.

Rating: 9/10

More Dejah Thoris: (Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars) #1-2, #3-4; (Dejah Thoris) Vol. 1 and 2, Vol.3.

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Posted on June 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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