Saturday, June 6, 2015

Retro Comics: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #23

With only six issues to go in the original Marvel series, let's return and meet "The Man Who Makes Murder!"

Leaping from the pan to the fire, John Carter and Dejah Thoris have just escaped their winged Orovar captors when they are taken in by the Guild of Assassins, the very men who tried to kill Carter weeks earlier. However they believe Dejah is the assassin Daria and eventually Carter discovers Dejah's true mission besides avenging his "death"-to stop a takeover of Helium by the guild and the slaughter of the royal family! If that isn't enough we also meet Tal Mordin, the legendary master assassin, who knows Dejah is not Daria and decides to pit her against a green man to the death.

With this issue Chris Claremont and company dump a lot of information on us-from Mordin's near historic status to the plot to kill Tardos Mors and his family to Carter's discovery of another secret Dejah is hiding, that's a lot to go through in a short space. Thankfully the story moves smoothly and Claremont provides enough moments to keep it from piling up. In short no long winded speeches or scenes of Mark Strong explaining his master plan Dr. Evil style.

The artwork team also delivers, with rousing sword fights, skilled designs and enough eye-catching stuff to keep your eyes glued. Granted some of the design choices are bizarre (like Mors Kojak's mohawk look) or just eye candy (Dejah's one piece outfit near the end-why couldn't Lynn Collins had worn that?) it's a colorful piece well done.

Next time will our heroes survive? Will Helium fall? Find out in "Betrayal on Barsoom!"

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