Saturday, November 1, 2014

Retro Comics: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #5

When we last left off John Carter has just saved his worst enemy from being lizard dinner. So now prepare for "...And One Shall Die!"

We open this time back in Helium as Kantos Kan defends John Carter against the charges of his kidnapping Dejah Thoris and selling her into slavery. He finds assistance from Grogg, a slow-witted but loyal soldier who also believes that Carter is innocent of the crimes he is accused of. The battle is cut short though by Mors Kojak, who decides to build a rescue party to find his daughter and get to the bottom of Carter's activities. Meanwhile Carter is still being forced to participate in more raids until he is barely eaten by a giant spider. When he escapes and returns he discovers that Stara Kan has ordered Dejah to be eliminated, leading to a final showdown between the two that leads to a startling conclusion and potential loss...

With a strong opening setting up Kantos and Grogg to the final panel, Marv Wolfman and company maintain a quick pace and keep the suspense going with nice fluidity while raising the stakes that makes Carter's actions believable and exciting. Throw in the creepy spider sequence and the final page and you got a good story that captures ERB perfectly.

Also helping is the contributions of Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres' artwork that brings the action and characters to colorful life. It shows their excellent skills of handling the action sequences and the quieter, more contemplative moments Carter has while weighing his options and his potential actions and how it could impact his search for the woman he loves.

Next time, "Hell in Helium!" How's that for a tease?

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