Again a clever opening eludes me so let's just jump into the Princess of Helium's first solo comic adventure. And yes there will be spoilers.
Titled "The Colossus of Mars" the storyline opens 437 years before John Carter's arrival on Barsoom. The state of Helium is split by a civil war between Greater and Lesser Helium with the latter being led by the Jed Tardors Mors and his son Mors Kojak. Things are beginning to look up and victory seems assured when they receive a visit from an envoy of the Jeddak of Yorn who offers a deal to stop the war-have his son marry Dejah Thoris. Thinking this will end the war she agrees and before too long meets her future husband to be-a clumsy somewhat pudgy fellow named Dor Valian. But it's isn't too long before the Jeddak's real agenda is revealed-he captures the leaders of both sides and announces he will be taking control of all of Helium. And if that isn't enough...well let's just say there's something underneath his plans.
I have to admit it's hard to judge a series based on just the first issue. But I have a feeling this might split some. First the good stuff-the artwork by Carlos Rafael is pretty good-in fact as much as I thought Dejah Thoris looked good in the current Warlord of Mars series, Rafael delivers an even better Dejah-she manages to look both sexy and beautiful at the same time, even though I'm sure there will be some complaints about her twin Heliums (if you catch my drift). Her character of a proud noble princess is also well handled by writer Arvid Nelson in the dialogue and her actions. So in this case Dejah herself comes across well.
But there were some problems-first up the Jeddak of Yorn seems a little weak as a villain. In fact he almost seems too similar to Than Kosis from A Princess of Mars-an enemy who uses the marriage of his son to Dejah to gain his goals. Also Rafael draws him almost looking like Ming the Merciless! I also had problems with the comedic aspects of the clumsy son as well if only because it's an old cliche. And the final page seems to come out of left field. But I'm willing to cut that some slack until I see how the story ultimately plays out in the future issues. Again most of this is just not knowing yet where the series is going. I had a similar reaction to the first issue of Warlord of Mars as well and so far that series has improved so it's possible these kinks could be worked out by the next issue.
In the end this first issue at least delivers a hot Dejah but I need to see where it goes before I can judge it a success. I do feel that this series will probably play better for those unfamiliar with the books more than die hard fans who probably have their own ideas of what Dejah was doing before John arrived. We'll just have to see where it goes from here.