Three years ago Disney released a film called “John Carter.” Unfortunately, it didn’t do as well as they hoped, a franchise was never born, and it eventually became forgotten by most people over time. I, however, was one of the few people who sat in a dark theater on opening night and loved it. “John Carter” is based on the series of stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs and is still very much alive today. Thanks to the good people at Dynamite Comics, if you’re a fan like me, you could still follow along on his adventures with the monthly comic written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Abhishek Malsuni. It’s a fun series that I strongly suggest picking up.
In the current “John Carter Warlord of Mars” series, our hero has come upon an enemy he once faced during the Civil War at the Battle of Manassas 1861. Union officer Captain Joshua Clark is a tenacious foe whom Carter believed to have killed. Unfortunately, for our hero, he did not and Captain Clark has made his way to Mars not resting until he kills Carter. It’s been left uncertain as to how Clark was transported from Jasoom (Earth) to Barsoom (Mars), but in issue #4 he finally informs us of his back story. After surviving his battle with Carter and continuing to fight in the war, he eventually came upon The Kahori “one clear, cold night” while he was alone in the Dakotas. The Kahori took him to their ship, sparred him as they found him to be curious, and he worked his way through their ranks to become their warlord. After traversing the stars, conquering world after world, they made their way to Barsoom. It was to his surprise that he found his one time enemy, John Carter, a Warlord of Mars. Naturally, he’s at odds with the planet and plans to execute the Princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris, who also happens to be John Carter’s wife!
The story by Ron Marz perfectly honors the tone and spirit of the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Issue #4 is a fast and entertaining read that serves as a great nod to a character who inspired Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Dune, Star Wars, and James Cameron’s Avatar. The issue offers an imaginative story with other wordly locations and fantastical creatures; it’s the complete comic book experience that you could hope for! Abhishek Malsuni has a clear understanding for the world Edgar Rice Burroughs’ created and his illustrations of Woola (John Carter’s pet calot – a dog-like lizard creature), the white apes, and Tars Tarkas of the Tharks are in complete unison with their previous depictions throughout the history of John Carter.
“John Carter Warlord of Mars” by Ron Marz is nearing the conclusion of its first story arc, “Invaders of Mars” and I highly recommend that you pick this title up. It’s a great comic book and offers a perfect blend of fantasy, adventure, romance, and escapism that reminds you of a simpler time in story telling. Dynamite has a great library of characters and John Carter is well-suited for the publisher. I could not be more excited to see how this story arc plays out and speculate on the further adventures John Carter will find himself in!
“John Carter Warlord of Mars” issue 4 gets five out of five stars.
John Carter: Warlord of Mars #4 (MR)
Writer: Marz, Ron
Artist: Malsuni, Abhishek
Cover Artist: Benes, Ed
On Sale February 25, 2015
Diamond Id: DEC141404