Saturday, October 27, 2012

Comic Review: Warriors of Mars #5

OK the first of two comic book reviews this weekend brings us the "conclusion" to Gulliver Jones' tale...or does it?

After helping John Carter rescue Dejah Thoris from the Thithers last time, Gulliver decided to check out Barsoom's future, landing in the 29th century, only to discover that it's not how he thought it would be as he discovers Earthmen on Mars. Thanks to a "great catastrophe" the Earth has been destroyed and now Jasoomians are Terra forming Mars into another Earth and eliminating any remaining Barsoomian. Thinking Gulliver is a spy, an evil colonel has a "worm" implanted in his brain and dumps in the remains of Helium. Here he finds the last resistance being led by the last descendant of John Carter and Dejah Thoris: Dejah Carter, Warlord of Barsoom. Soon enough the bad guys arrive and Gulliver has to prove his worth to the distrusting Dejah and her Thark ally Tarkan Dar, leading to a new chapter in his life.

Yeah I know. It sounds like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edwin Lester Arnold meets Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles with a dash of Avatar (the evil military colonel ready to slaughter the indigenous population) thrown in. For a first issue this would be a compelling opener but for what is being hyped as a last issue of a mini series its a little much. Let me restate that, its too much. In fact my major complaint here-and it applies to the series as a whole-is that it seems like there was three separate series planned and then condensed into one five issue series, leaving this reader with a serious case of whiplash. Robert Napton does his best here trying to balance the pieces but I feel this should have been separate from the get-go with a five issue adaptation of Gulliver of Mars, another series where he meets John Carter and this one as an the first chapter in a new series.

On the art front though, artist Jack Jadson still delivers a nice and pleasing look to the characters and some unique designs even if there is some bizarre choices. I don't know about you but being told its the 29th century and having Earthmen flying around in outfits that look like a cross between Buck Rogers and The Rocketeer would seem a little strange. Still it has been well drawn series from start to finish so Jadson gets a solid "A" in that department.

I'll wrap up here by giving Warriors of Mars a **1/2 out of 4. The artwork has been great but trying to condense three stories into one miniseries leaves little breathing room and not a lot of time to explore. Maybe this issue's ending is a setup for a continuing series of adventures which would be good since I hate to think its ending on such a note of uncertainty. I'll be back tomorrow.

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