Thursday, December 26, 2013
I hope you guys had a great Christmas. And here's some news that might kick off a good new year. The official ERB Inc. Facebook page has left this brief post on their Facebook page: "We just got word of an amazing development that will be announced at the beginning of the year.....Stay posted for more." Now some of the comments left indicate it won't be concerning the upcoming Warner Bros/David Yates Tarzan film but something else? A new ERB-inspired book? The possible news that Neal Romanek's Skies of Venus finally has a publisher? Or that they have reacquired the rights back to John Carter of Mars? I guess we'll find out soon. For more ERB info hit https://www.facebook.com/erburroughs.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
I missed the last issue so I'll be playing catch up.
Following her victory over the vicious Thark Voro, Dejah goes on a secret mission. And like most leaders-from Hannibal to Hannibal Smith-she needs to get the best of the best to assist her. So a team of Tharks are assembled and...that's all that happens in this issue.
Missing an issue does make it somewhat confusing but the only thing I take away from this issue is that it comes across as an attempt to stretch a miniseries for four more issues. The whole "Dejah forms her own A-Team or Magnificent Seven could have been a stand alone story line for the central Dejah Thoris series instead of being tacked on here. That said writer Mark Rahner does a good job setting up the Tharks who are going on this mission and how Dejah convinces them to go with her, since not much else happens here. It's a setup issue nothing more.
Like this week's Warlord of Mars issue, we get another new artist tackling Barsoom, in this case Jethro Morales and like Wagner Reis' artwork in Warlord it's split between some cool, gnarly Tharks and a mixed look for Dejah, who appears either well drawn or in a few panels overly cartoony. And since most of the issue is characters talking there isn't much chance to show off in big action sequences. Again maybe I'm being hard so maybe in the next issue we'll get to see Morales really show his skills.
As a setup story, this would have worked better in the ongoing major series but otherwise it's an intriguing setup so I'll leave it at that. If I don't get the chance later have a safe and merry Christmas everyone. Until the moons hurtle through the sky again, Kaor!
Saturday, December 21, 2013
This week's Warlord of Mars comic finds John Carter exploring more of the dark secrets of Barsoon. In other words a typical day for our hero.
Despite pleas from Dejah Thoris, Carter is determined to investigate the Twin Spires of Helium, even though their history is unknown. Entering the Red Spire of Greater Helium, Carter and his men almost become Ghasta chow but luckily survive. Going further into the spire they find what appears to be an egg with a surprise-SPOILER-the still living body of missing Jeddak Tardors Mors! Bringing him out, Tardors relates how he escaped his captors in Okar only to wake up back in Helium. While his return seems to be a cause for celebration, John and Dejah begin to wonder if something else isn't afoot...
Setting up the latest storyline, "Tyrant of Mars," Arvid Nelson once again comes up with an intriguing setup with some out of left field twists. To say more would spoil the fun but this opening does a good job of providing enough meat to chew on while throwing us some interesting concepts and a unique look at the characters.
Handling the art this issue is Wagner Reis and I'm sort of mixed on it. On the one hand his creatures look great, from the beasts of burden on the front page to the giant spiders Carter and company face in the Spire, he sure knows how to handle the otherworldly creatures. It's his humans and Heliumites I'm a little more down on. Some of them come across too cartoony while others look OK. I guess I'm just used to a more realistic look for them and here they almost bear a caricature look. That said I'm sure will like it so I might be in the minority on that thought.
So with some hiccups in the art addressed, this issue is still an interesting and eye-catching opening for another round of action and pulp suspense. That's all you need to know. I'll be back tomorrow with another review so until then folks.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
This is a few days late but it's worth it.
While giving an important speech, Clark Savage Jr. receives word of chaos in the streets. When he and some of his Fabulous Five arrive they discover an aurora in the skies of New York and people acting out violently. But before they can intervene both the aurora and the violence stops, leaving several injured and a city on edge. Doc and his team begin to investigate but with each step they discover a more massive plan and a bigger threat.
I've decided to leave most of the plot of this issue vague since I don't want to spoil it but believe me, this was fun! Having came to Doc Savage only a few years back thanks to reprints I fell in love with the action and unique characters and this one captures it well. Writer Chris Roberson manages to capture the pulpy excitement of the old novels while at the same time crafting an intriguing story that catches the reader's attention and helps carry through the entire issue. From crafting an interesting tale to providing enough space for Doc and the Five Roberson brings a knack and I can't wait to see what he does next.
Helping the story move along is also the excellent artwork by Bilquis Evely. From the first panels showing the design of the characters-which goes for realism not exaggeration-to the chaos in the streets to the rousing finale he draws with a deft hand, preventing the artwork from getting messy or over the top. Some may not like the character designs, especially if you only know Doc from the James Bama cover art of the 1960s but if you give it a chance the art is sensational.
Fans of Doc Savage and those just looking for a fun read I give this a hearty recommendation. It captures the fun and pulp thrills of long time back while making it accessible to modern day readers. What more do you want?
Saturday, December 14, 2013
No clever opening, just a review.
When a tribute from Hastor arrives in Helium, the residents turn out. Unknown to them, the gift-a statute of Dejah Thoris-is actually a bomb that injures and kills several. When Dejah recovers she suspects this attack was orchestrated by her estranged brother Kajak Thoris. Doing some investigative work along with Kantos Kan and scientist Syl Mak, Dejah discovers that the material that the statue was made from came from Helium's own ersite deposit in the Toonolian Marshes. Taking off under cover Dejah goes to the Marshes to find her vengeance crazed brother, who is waiting for her...
With this issue we return back to the whole "lost brother" subplot that had been explored earlier and well I can't say I'm too overjoyed about it. Part of it is the idea of just adding a brother and some back story about him being stolen and raised as a slave then suddenly seeking revenge against his sister. Part of it may be just in this issue Dejah's pursuit of justice suddenly has her taking things too far, especially in an interrogation scene that smacks less of the woman readers of Burroughs would know. On the plus side the investigation scenes are handled well and the build up is nice but like the Machine Men I get the feeling I'll be happy when this one moves on.
I'll give the usual fine marks for the artwork, again handled by Debora Carita, who is doing a good job of alternating with Carlos Rafael's work. It's nice vibrant and she is capturing the characters and action well.
Not much left to say here. Until next time folks.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
OK this is a few hours late but here's the news. Variety is reporting that Samuel L. Jackson has reentered talks to co-star in David Yates' upcoming Tarzan with Alexander Skarsgard as the lord of the jungle and Christoph Waltz as the villain. Jackson had been in talks previously with Warner Bros to star but had to pass when the project was put on hold following budget concerns. Interestingly the article notes that Yates got Warners to give the film the go ahead when he showed them a previsualization test reel that got them excited. The only character left to cast is Jane Porter, with the current front runner rumored being actress Margot Robbie, who will be seen in Martin Scorsese's upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street. For more hit http://variety.com/2013/film/news/samuel-l-jackson-tarzan-warner-bros-1200941990/.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
As I'm sure most of you die hard ERB fans know, the first part of The Warlord of Mars was published in the December 1913 issue of All-Story magazine, wrapping up a busy year for the author. Following the publication of The Gods of Mars and The Return of Tarzan, this brought a close to the opening Barsoom trilogy with a bang. Having just reread it for the first time in a while, I thought I would write my impressions and what stuck out this time. See what you think and leave your own thoughts and opinions about the book.
--No prologue this time. Unlike the first two books Burroughs does not open with a prologue establishing how the story was received-usually from uncle Jack. Instead this opens with John Carter in action.
--Woola returns! Showing his loyalty Woola remains a constant throughout much of the early section, especially when Carter almost goes down the wrong path in his search for Matai Shang and Thurid.
--"Hi, I'm John Carter." I had to laugh at his honest introduction to Therns Lakor and his unnamed companion. When you're the greatest swordsman of two worlds I guess lying about your identity is unnecessary.
--"Your widow will become my wife!" Clearly both Matai Shang and Salensus Oll have one track minds since both decide to marry Dejah Thoris. Is she the only hot woman on the planet?
--Insects of unusual size. The hornet-inspired Sith was a creepy addition to the creature life of Barsoom. A smaller version made its film debut in the 2009 Princess of Mars film.
--The Carrion Caves sequence. This would had made a great sequence in a film version, made by someone who respects the material not just his own ideas.
--It takes a while to become an Okarian. According to Carter it took three days to get his and Thuvan Dihn's skin yellow and their beards attached before could enter Kadabra. Usually it just takes minutes for Carter to slap on red dye to pass as a red man so I guess yellow takes longer.
--Solon. Another film-ready sequence would have been Carter's desperate fight with Solon since for once Carter has met his match.
--"It's a trap!" OK if you want more proof of how much George Lucas strip mined from Burroughs consider this: The Guardian of the North projects a magnetic "energy shield" around Kadabra that must be deactivated to save the Helium fleet and allow the attack to commence. Just substitute the shield generator on the third moon of Endor and you get the idea.
--"Heroic daughter of a heroic world!" While Carter mentions that women are not extensively trained in sword fighting he believes that Dejah would had picked one up and fought at his side. So this whole "Dejah is just a damsel in distress" defense that Andrew Stanton and his lackeys used to justify their manipulative "warrior princess" Dejah is like much of their claims-bull. Maybe if they had read the books they would had realized what happened.
--Redeeming a princess. While most of the villains in Burroughs' work are often beyond redemption Phaidor is given a redemptive moment and a shocking twist that even leaves Carter stunned.
--A final kiss. How else should this story end but with the woman he loves in his arms and a final embrace?
So what makes this book work for you? Leave your thoughts below and let me know if I missed anything.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Here you go! Comic Book Resources has posted an eight page preview for Dynamite's upcoming Doc Savage comic book and it looks really good. So hit http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=19363 and let us know what you think.
Friday, December 6, 2013
It's the big event-Carter vs. Clayton! (Red woman pictured on cover sadly not included).
Pushed into the arena to finally destroy the "tyrant" John Carter, Tarzan finds himself beginning to doubt the Therns' motives, especially when they start pelting him with fruit in order to get him angry. Carter, using his telepathy, manages to calm him down enough to realize what is going on. Demanding to see Jane, the Therns' leader Jagati Khen reveals her as his prisoner. But hell hath no fury like an Earth woman in lower gravity as Jane escapes. With his plans blowing up in his face, Khen releases white apes and all pandemonium breaks loose as the two Earthmen fight for their lives.
After all the setup we finally get the good stuff. And it was worth it. Setting up Tarzan's doubt and Carter's unwillingness to fight a hesitant enemy, Arvid Nelson and company establish a fast-paced rhythm to this issue that builds to a fever pitch. To say how it turns out would ruin the fun so I'll just say enjoy the mayhem as it builds.
Nelson gets help from Roberto Castro, whose art supplements the story incredibly well. From capturing Tarzan and John Carter's "duel" in the arena to some of the most vicious looking white apes in any of the Dynamite series, it's a visual delight with nice color and rousing drawings.
I'm holding back as this issue is just too much fun to spoil for readers. If you have missed the other Lords of Mars issues I recommend getting them-or the eventual paperback-and then read this one because it will help you enjoy it more. Sit back and have fun!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
While we wait for the third season's debut in January, Entertainment Weekly has released a batch of
photos to whet our appetites. So hit http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/12/04/sherlock-3-photos/ and check out the rest.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Well that was fast. One week after John Carter's shocking discovery and we get the finale.
Barely escaping with their lives from Talu and his men, Carter and Tars Tarkas suddenly find themselves trapped by an ice wall with no passage. And if that wasn't enough Talu and company find them and unleash their big monster-experiment to take care of them. While both fight for their lives, help arrives thanks to Carthoris, leading to a final decision by Tars that could change the peace of Barsoom forever.
I admitted in my review of the last issue I wasn't thrilled with the change to Talu and the Yellow Men, making them the bad guys. I still don't like it but I will give this issue praise for being an entertaining, rousing finale to the "Savages of Mars" story. Most of that is due to the artwork, here a team effort by Rafael Lanhellas and Marcio Abreu that makes the action crackle and move, as well as capturing the characters quite well. There's enough vibrancy to catch the eye that I think readers will come away at least with a visual treat.
The story also does move, even with the aforementioned changes. The interplay between Carter and Tars is excellent, showing off Arvid Nelson's skills as a writer as well as capturing the friendship between the two that Burroughs established. The final choice by Tars is also handled well, showing his Thark thinking and demeanor while at the same time admitting that it is hard to be civilized. Plus I did love his final line at the end.
Yes the big reveal of the major villain was something of a disappointment but otherwise this was a strong and bold storyline that captured the best of both Nelson and Burroughs' gifts. A true fan of Barsoom I think will enjoy the series, even with the changes, and come away happy that someone is carrying on the tradition of adventure and thrills. That's my final word on it so pick it up. Until next time true believers.