John Carter: Warlord of Mars #3 (Comics Review)

Dynamite’s latest John Carter series, John Carter: Warlord of Mars got off to a great start last year in November. The first two issues have been full of non-stop action and suspense, in the same vein as the original source material, and even in the same vein as Arvid Nelson’s first adaptations on the Warlord of Mars title. That plus the fact that the artwork by Abhishek Malsuni and the others has been pretty stellar as well, lending itself well to the world created over a century ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with some great flourishes and visuals.

Last week’s John Carter: Warlord of Mars #3 proved to be a good follow-up to what was one of the best issues in comics last year for me, and the fact that most of the issue focuses on how badass and awesome Dejah Thoris can be really fills me a great sense of satisfaction. I was slightly concerned about where her character was headed when we saw in the first issue that she was a prisoner, held without her will and ill-treated, but it seems that Ron Marz intended that as a distraction, and now Dejah really comes into her. Ron’s script is superb again, and the art team matched him beat for beat.

The great thing about this issue is that while it is a direct follow-up to the previous two, it also kind of stands on its own. It deals mostly with Dejah and her predicament, but it also shows how the Heliumite Vush Tanzar betrayed his own people and sided with the enemy. He keeps pushing the blame of his actions on Dejah, making her responsible for the sad events Barsoom is struggling through, and it shows how deranged and mind-addled he is. And it also proves that Dejah isn’t going to listen to any more of his nonsense than she has to. She is assertive from the start of the issue, right until the end, and her defiant and proud spirit is laid bare for the reader by the end.

I love Dejah Thoris as a character. Though her trappings aren’t particularly PC and are in the vein of how ERB described the people of Barsoom, she is a character who rises beyond any of that. Many of ERB’s own stories and many of Dynamite’s own original works have portrayed her as a superb action heroine, and that’s the depiction that Ron Marz goes for in this issue. We see her strength of character, the strength of her convictions, and also her strength of arms here. And there’s never a wasted or dull moment in any of it.

Vush Tanzar’s story elicits only pity, but then I suppose that’s the response Ron wanted to draw from the reader. You feel pity for this traitorous scumbag and want him to die slowly and painfully for his transgressions. He makes for a good side-villain, that’s for sure, and the fact that he is just there to further along Dejah’s arc pleased me immensely.

Of course, our Jeddak fo Jeddaks isn’t idle either, on his way to Helium in one of the enemy’s many airships. No action from the warlord of Mars this time, but we do get to see some good character-building scenes between him and Tars Tarkas that once again show good a handle Ron has on these characters. And the issue ends on a rather abrupt and tragic note, so I know that I’m definitely going to be around for the next issue since I want to know what’s going to happen next, particularly in the face of Captain Clark’s ultimatum to her.

As before, Abhishek,Zsolt H. Garisa, Nanjan Jamberi and Rob Steen are the artists on the issue with Ed Benes and Dinei Ribeiro on the cover. The art was definitely in keeping with the strong showing of this team in the previous two issues. Seeing Dejah in action, even if it against a bunch of really vicious and driven critter-monsters, is worth the price of entry. Or the fact that we also get to see John’s pet White Ape playing with Woola, which is all kinds of hilariously awesome.

Great work once again and a strong start to a new year.

Rating: 10/10

More John Carter: Warlord of Mars: #1, #2.

More Warlord of Mars: Volume 1, #100.

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Posted on January 12, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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