Saturday, December 1, 2012

Comic Review: Warlord of Mars #22

After a two month absence, John Carter returns!

After surviving Matai Shang's trap for him, Carter takes off in pursuit of the Thern leader and his captives when a lucky shot from Thurid's gun damages his one man flier. Crash landing in a forest, Carter and Woola find themselves in the nation of Kaol, whose inhabitants still cling to the fallen religion of Issus and are playing host to Shang. Carter does find an ally in the Jeddak of Ptarth, Thuvan Dihn, when he rescues him from a group of green men that Carter suspects was setup by the Therns. Eventually both men find the ruler of Kaol beginning to question Shang's motives and when he disappears agrees to help Carter and Thuvan Dihn pursue him. Their trek eventually finds them heading to north in search of a "pure race" that still worships the Therns...

As the second part in their adaptation of The Warlord of Mars, this adapts the novel quite well but throws in some interesting changes. The most notable is in the character of Phaidor, who throws herself between her father and Dejah Thoris and remarks how it was Dejah who helped her survive in the Temple of the Sun. We also get more development of Carter's friendship with Thuvan Dihn, since the story does eliminate some of the novel's plotting like Carter going undercover in Kaol. Admittedly most of this issue is talk with little action outside the opening and Carter's fight with the green men but its still skillfully done by Arvid Nelson and crew.

The major plus here is the artwork by Leandro Oliveira. In fact this might be the best artwork I've seen since the series began as he captures the characters with vivid colors and design. Carter looks less like Tarzan as he has in the previous issues while Oliveira brings the supporting cast alive as well. In particular-as anyone knows me-his Dejah is a knockout. Just take a look at the first page. There is also nice design work on the Kaolian jungle and throne room, an area the series has had problems with in establishing backgrounds.

As John Carter himself would say, Warlord of Mars still lives and is worth getting for fans and newbies to the saga. It's a grand pulp story, masterfully adapted and brought to life. What more do you want?

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