Friday, March 23, 2012

Comic Review: John Carter-The Gods of Mars #1

We'll close up this week with another Barsoomian comic review as Marvel unleashes their second mini-series adaptation.

Again I'm going to think most of you know the plot line of The Gods of Mars-or at least have been following Dynamite's version in their Warlord of Mars series (or at least my reviews of those) so I'll skip going over the plot. Instead I'll cover the basics of this issue: John Carter suddenly wakes up on Barsoom and finds himself set upon by Plant Men. Lucky for him Tars Tarkas rescues him and before we know it John and old "Greenskin" (as he now calls Tars) are captured by great white ape riding Therns, escape during the First Born assault and John learns that Dejah Thoris is missing. Oh yeah our hero's first reaction to returning to Barsoom? He goes "Yee Haw!"

I sort of figured after Marvel's take on A Princess of Mars not to expect much from this series. And well I was half right. First the good news: the artwork is vastly superior. Drawn by Ramon Perez, the art has a nice cartoony style to it that isn't too off putting, especially compared to the art done for Princess. Tars Tarkas is better looking-and resembles the movie version; Thuvia and Phaidor are nicely drawn and the backgrounds are full and vibrant. If anything this issue might be worth picking up just for Perez's work.

On the downside unfortunately is the writing. Not that writer Sam Humphries does a bad job, it's just that like Princess it is written for a younger set, so we get "yee haw" John Carter, old Greenskin (didn't Stan Lee call the Hulk that?) and some juvenile laughs-like John saying "so long suckers!" to the Plant Men. I guess it's OK for the target audience and that's all it needs to be but I did wince a few times. And what's with this thing of having John Carter needing rescuing? So far he was a bumbling swordsman in the movie and now Tars Tarkas saves him from the Plant Men? Who decided he needed to be the major klutz of two worlds suddenly?

So the long and short of it is this: So far so OK. It won't win any awards but I don't think it will turn off new fans, especially those discovering John Carter thanks to the movie. But old time fans might want to give it a thumb through before purchase. If anything the artwork is worth the price but next time leave out the yee-hawing.

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