This week's Dejah adventure finds every one's favorite princess going undercover and making a shocking discovery. Isn't that usually what happens?
Barely escaping with their lives, Dejah and Gunbor return Xam Lin with news of what they saw: jars with Barsoomian brains in them! Xam suspects that the brains could possibly be those of missing women from the Avenue of Pleasure, Barsoom's answer to the Red Light District and that Mortus the assassin was behind the disappearances. When Dejah and Gunbor strike a deal with another rival guild leader, Rak Nar, Dejah hits the streets in an even more revealing costume to discover the truth. What she finds is (SPOILER ALERT) a mad scientist using the brains-and heads-of red men and women to create machine men to take over Barsoom. Oh and Mortus is an old enemy from the past-the Jeddak of Yorn, who survived his "death" with the Colossus and has devious plans for both Barsoom and Dejah.
OK. When you have an issue with a princess going undercover as a woman of the night, creepy looking robots with human heads and the reappearance of a thought dead villain you got a lot there to work through. I wrote in my review of the last issue that I enjoyed the opening chapter of this story arc, thinking it would lead to a cool story featuring Barsoom's underworld. Instead it's back to saving Barsoom from a power mad bad guy and a creepy scientist (then again has there ever been any noble scientists on Barsoom? Besides Movie Dejah?). I'll give the creative team credit, it reads fast and managed to maintain my interest until the end when they leave us with another cliffhanger. I know this may sound like faint praise but I guess after vampires and witches having machine men doesn't sound like much of a stretch and hey considering we had a flying machine controlled by mental abilties in Swords of Mars...
I'll repeat my usual praise for the artwork by Carlos Rafael-nice, bright and clear. Granted with his ponytail and Fu Manchustache the Jeddak of Yorn looks like the clone of Ming the Merciless but hey if you have to look like an evil monarch why not one of the best?
I admit this isn't the best review I've written. Chalk it up to still fighting a cold. But I'll give this issue a passing grade for now. We'll just have to wait and see what other out of left field curve balls they come up with.