Monday, February 6, 2012

Comic Review: Warriors of Mars #1


More Martian comics fun to follow-up last night's Super Bowl action. Just a quick warning: some spoilers will be revealed so those wanting to wait and read the issue first might want to skip this until you've read it.

While visiting the grave of her mother, Dejah Thoris tells John Carter a secret that her mother once told her-a secret about the first man from Earth who visited Barsoom, Lt. Gullivar Jones and his own adventures on the red planet.

After having been denied a promotion and fearing that he cannot provide for his true love, Gullivar's life takes a change when he is nearly hit by an old man in a carpet. When the old man is killed Gullivar takes the carpet home and in a fit of aggravation says he wishes he were anywhere, anytime or on another planet...like Mars! And before he knows it he's wrapped up in the carpet and finds himself hurled through the cosmos until he finds himself on Mars. Once there he finds a race of intelligent humanoid beings and earns their trust when he rescues the beautiful Princess Heru. But after being drugged at a dinner party, Gullivar must undertake a dangerous journey to rescue Heru from the beastly Thither people. Can Gullivar rescue the princess and save the day?

At this point most fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Barsoom series know about Edwin Lester Arnold's novel Lt. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (later republished as Gulliver of Mars) so I won't go into the history here. So I'll instead focus on this first issue and how it works. And so far it's OK. For the most part the issue is a straightforward adaptation of Arnold's book, with some major alterations. In order to make it fit inside the world of John Carter of Mars, writer Robert Napton has changed the almost hippie like Hither people into the red men and women of Burroughs. Also in the opening framing sequence-and I'm sure this will be the biggest bone of contention-Heru has been rewritten to be Dejah Thoris' mother. Beyond that most of the issue was respectful of Arnold and Burroughs.

The artwork here is also pretty good by artist Jack Jadson. He captures Gullivar-right down to his Civil War era uniform-and makes Heru an attractive princess. He also brings a nice design to the Thither people-barbaric insect like creatures here-that makes them stand out. The backgrounds admittedly aren't well defined and there isn't much action to show off but so far so good.

I guess the best way to say it is that if you liked Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen then you might enjoy this combination of these characters. While I don't know if the remaining issues will adapt the rest of Gulliver of Mars or attempt to bring together the Gullivar and John Carter, fans might want to give it a chance and see for themselves.

1 comment:

Pohjanakka said...

Hm. Heru was depicted as a somewhat unpleasant me-first spoiled princess (well, I haven't read all of the novel, I kept skipping parts since I didn't particularly like her nor the hero, but I wasn't impressed with her as depicted in the parts I did read), so making her Dejah's mom does not sound pleasant, unless she behaves better in the comic than she did in the novel.