Monday, November 16, 2015

Retro Comics: John Carter Annual #3


Sorry for the lateness but we finally wrap up Marvel's take on Barsoom with one of the most offbeat-and goofiest-tales in the series. Get ready for "Amazons of Mars!"

While helping a mining operation in the Korz Plateau, John Carter barely escapes a gas explosion and helps rescue the miners. With the mine now closed due to safety issues, Carter heads to Helium to report but gets waylaid rescuing a beautiful woman named Klyss and agrees to return her home. Home happens to be a city of women-the Amazons of the title-and before you can say "Kaor!" Carter is bewitched  by their charms-and their magic lipstick and perfume-and becomes horny. Of course he eventually discovers he's to be the main sacrifice to their Fire Goddess. And Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas show up to save the day. There's also rhythmic dancing, chains, much writhing...either it's time to get sacrificed or Carter's cosplaying Fifty Shades of Grey. Can Carter be saved from death by fire? Will Dejah find matching boots? And will Tars survive vampire Man-Bats?

Man this issue was goofy. From the bizarro plot twists to the artwork everything that could go wrong in a comic book does in "Amazons of Mars." Part of the problem is that it reads like a rejected Conan the Barbarian story rewritten to fit John Carter, Warlord of Mars and then turned to 11 on the silly scale. In case you're wondering here's a list of the charms that make this issue so bad it's fun:

--The artwork, in particular John Carter's head. It seems to shrink from panel to panel yet his body remains the same shape.

--The panel where Carter attempts to push a boulder with his head.

--Klyss' face mask. She basically escaped from another Marvel comic book.

--The magic lipstick and perfume. If only they had magic medallions! Also wouldn't that perfume affect them and make them horny?

--This classic bit of overripe dialogue: "Kiss me my Jasoomian Chieftain! Love me as you have loved no other woman since the dawn of time."

--Carter's description of "sensual delights" sadly not seen due to Comic Code regulations.

--The cameo appearance of DC's Man-Bat and his relatives.

--Carter chained up. What else is new? On the other hand it gives Klyss chances to feel him up.

--Tars' Roman helmet. They come in Thark size?

--Dejah's goofy Amazon outfit. Mismatched boots and all.

--The fire goddess or the Dark Phoenix the Early Version.

And that's just the tip. So if you enjoy flat-out wackiness, female demons, giant bat-men, and Amazons on Mars then pick this up. It's a laugh riot from start to finish and a finale to this run of our favorite Warlord of Mars. Next time we'll return to the present with less Amazons (sorry folks).

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