Thursday, April 19, 2012

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris & the White Apes of Mars #1

Again I got behind so I'll be catching up with some Barsoomian comic book reviews for the next few days. First up another adventure for the most beautiful woman of two worlds...and some hungry apes. Deciding to expand her son Carthoris' knowledge of Barsoom's history, Dejah Thoris decides to take him and a few other "hatchlings" on an archaeological "field trip" to examine the little known "Battle of the Face of Barsoom." Taking off with a few female friends and warriors, Dejah and company find themselves facing airship problems, forcing them to land and find shelter. When they discover a ruined building, they set up camp and wait for the hatchling ship to come to their rescue. But they are unaware of the threat that awaits them-a huge pack of hungry white apes that tear through their guard, leaving Dejah and her friends alone, unarmed and without apparent help...

Set during John Carter's "disappearance," this series kicks off with an interesting premise: teaching the young about their history and how sometimes that can rise up and take a big chunk right out of you. Also we get to see some different sides of the Princess of Barsoom. Writer Mark Rahner actually has some fun portraying the different facets of Dejah, from a loving mother, teacher, feisty princess-at one point Tardors Mors expresses concern but concedes "you will have your way, won't you?" and even a gossip girl, spending time with her female friends and talking about female things (including one who asks about John Carter's "prowess" if you know what I mean). The second part, once they hit the city, builds up suspense and some rather grisly ape action, leading to a cliff hanger that Burroughs himself might have liked.

Returning to do the art here is Lui Antonio, who did several issues of the Warlord of Mars series and he does a good job, providing some nice designs for the characters-even though those who demand modesty and/or tattoos might be disappointed as Dejah and her pals don't believe in either here. Antonio also draws the apes as vicious, savage creatures that I wouldn't want to meet.

So if you're looking for a nifty comic story set on Barsoom, Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars kicks off with a great start. I just hope the next issue is just as strong.

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