Saturday, October 20, 2012

Comic Review: Dejah Thoris #17

This week's comic adventure finds our intrepid princess facing her most dangerous foe yet. She took down a colossus, fought pirates, and faced possession by a witch and her own self banishment. But can Dejah Thoris stop the Vampire Men of Saturn?!?!?

Opening in a dream state, Dejah finds herself pulled back to reality when she remembers seeing a strange ship in the sky of Barsoom and being taken prisoner. She awakens to find herself a prisoner of the Vathek, a race from the sixth planet in our solar system (Dejah calls it Xasoom, to them its Strio). Landing on the moon Titan (or Vona) she finds an ally in Svero, a member of another race called the Palidor. He reveals that the Vanthek became infected with a plague that has caused their condition and are now planning to seek out new blood supplies with Barsoom their first stop. Its up to Dejah and Svero to escape and stop their plans, leading to a chase on winged creatures called dyrio that ends with Dejah...well I'll let you find out.

At this point the Dejah Thoris series has been the most divisive of Dynamite's Barsoomian series partly because the stories have went off in some offbeat directions. If it hasn't already happened I have the feeling that this one might be the make or break story arc for some who might have problems seeing Dejah fighting vampire men. On the other hand so far writer Robert Napton does a good job setting up the premise and not resorting to a supernatural explanation as in the Boora Witch arc. In fact the use of a plague as an explanation for the Vanthek brings to mind I Am Legend with its scientific reasoning for vampirism. I'm sure some will quibble over some of the plot twists or usage (Xasoom anyone) but so far so good.

On the art front Debora Carita returns from the previous issue and does a good job, even though I do hope Carlos Rafael returns soon. That said Carita brings a nice style to Vanthek's ships and the dryio. The designs of the Vathek are a little on the predictable side-at this point is there a new way to draw a vampire?-while Svero is actually drawn wearing Flash Gordon's outfit. Otherwise its got the same pleasing, colorful look as before.

I know that "Vampire Men of Saturn" might be pushing it. Even though Edgar Rice Burroughs himself gave us "Skeleton Men of Jupiter" so no one can complain about leaving Barsoom for a while. Fans of the series will I think enjoy this as long as they are open to the cross between Burroughs and Bram Stoker. Besides its October, so sink your teeth in and see what you think.

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