Sunday, January 11, 2015

Retro Comics: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #13

I promise a review of the new John Carter, Warlord of Mars as soon as I can get it. But for now let us witness the "March of the Dead!"

When we last left off, John Carter was being held down by living skeletons and his friend Tars Tarkas-under a spell-was ready to cut off his head! Luckily for Carter that low Martian gravity comes in handy and he avoids death and renders Tars unconscious after much struggle. Finding Sola, the pair return to Helium with Tars to try and find a cure for their fallen Thark while Carter ponders returning back to the City of Skulls. He doesn't have much time as a massive army of skeletons prepare to march under the command of one Zhuvan D'Ark. Eventually Carter and D'Ark meet, we get the backstory-a man who had made a "bond with the Dark Gods" and now seeks revenge against the living and Helium. With Carter helpless can he stop this latest threat, especially as "tonight is the night Helium dies!"

With massive fights, walking skeletons, evil wizards and a hypnotized Thark, this issue packs in a lot that it almost drowns in it. Thankfully Marv Wolfman and company keep things moving, even providing a brief respite from the action. I guess where I find fault is as mentioned in my review of issue 12 is that the story just seems out of place for John Carter of Mars. With mentions of "dark gods," an evil sorcerer and walking dead I keep expecting Conan or even Solomon Kane to walk in. Some of that probably is because Burroughs never went for full-out fantasy or sorcery in the Barsoom books so its presence here is a little out of character. Still for what it is it's an entertaining read.

Carmine Infantino is still handling art duties and again delivers a nice work, especially considering the amount of action, armies and characters that he has to balance. Some of it becomes a blur but otherwise he maintains a good steady look, helped by inker Rudy Nebres and colorist Michele Wolfman (also give credit to letterer John Constanza as well).

Can Carter defeat this new threat and stop Helium from falling? We'll find out next time, so untilt hen Kaor!

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