Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Retro Comics: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #2


Yesterday's surprise announcement bumped this to today so without further ado, John Carter vs. "the savage WHITE APES OF MARS!"

Following his rescue of Dejah and Tars Tarkas, Carter captures a fleeing red man who he feels might have the secret to the events surrounding Dejah's kidnapping and the Warhoons. Bringing him back to Helium, the prisoner remains silent and is jailed at the request of Carter until he can get the truth out of him. However the prisoner has his own surprise and escapes, leading Carter and Tars into a trap involving those deadly apes. Also Dejah follows, putting Carter into a situation of fighting to save the woman he loves, leading to an ending that leaves our hero at the mercy of the escaped prisoner.

Picking up right where the first issue left off, "From the Shadows...Stara-Kan!" continues what made the first issue work-breathless action, interesting plot twists and a nice balance to the characters, all wrapped up in Marv Wolfman's effective storytelling. Granted this issue you do need to take some leaps of faith-like the fact that the prisoner has more in common with The Six Million Dollar Man than anything Edgar Rice Burroughs created, so be prepared. We also visit the one room Burroughs never took us to on Barsoom-Carter and Dejah's boudoir! And no Dejah, you haven't "lost the charm to lure you away from such worries?"

After collaborating with Dave Cockrum on the first issue, Gil Kane goes solo on the artwork here and it's still eye-catching, vivid and nicely rendered, from the backgrounds to the apes, Kane captures Barsoom with a great eye. He also balances the action sequences with flair and captures' Dejah's "charm" in a romantic and beautiful way. Fans will want to see this just for Kane's work alone.

So with Carter now at the mercy of his enemy what will happen next? Stay tuned and we'll see.

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