In Review: Lords of Mars #3

The covers: Alex Ross has created a fantastic cover of Tarzan and John Carter face to face, anger in their eyes. If only they weren’t so concerned with such hatred they might notice that Jane and Dejah are being attacked by a horde of Martian white apes. This is a nice representation of the looming battle readers are expecting, though I do wish it wasn’t so red. The Exclusive Subscription cover is by Fritz Casas with Dejah front and center holding an ornate spear. John, colored dimly, is behind her, with outrageous muscle tone, while Tarzan is to the side in profile. Two ornate suns/moons provide the light. Tarzan looks good but Dejah and John look too stiff, and John’s sporting a 12 pack on his chest. Overall grades: Main A and Subscription C

The story: Anyone who reads this title wants to see John and Tarzan tussle, but writer Arvid Nelson knows exactly how to build tension–and boy is he!–without leaving anyone disappointed. The book opens with Thern treachery displayed as John Carter’s official ambassador is killed. We then transition to Jane, who doesn’t want to wear native clothing (…And on behalf of the male world, Mr. Nelson, let me say, “Damn you!”) because she feels the Therns aren’t trustworthy. Unfortunately, Tarzan has embraced life with the Therns wholeheartedly. When Jane tries to tell the ape-man of her suspicions he labels her worries as “far-fetched.” This drives a wedge between the couple, inspiring Jane to do something “most inappropriate.” The two pages featuring John Carter this month have him saying farewell to Dejah as he’s off to the Valley Dor to find out what happened to his ambassador. The rest of the issue has Tarzan and Jane accusing the other of being foolish, Tarzan working out some aggression and volunteering for something he shouldn’t have. This was a completely engrossing read as the leads are being pulled into a confrontation not of their own making. I loved Jane on every page! She’s strong, independent, and is trying everything she can to make her man listen to reason. One can only hope that by the end of this series, Jane will have proven herself to be Tarzan’s most loyal ally. Tarzan is also terrific! Strong–or thick–headed in his opinions, listening to his heart more than his head. This is a young Tarzan whose experiences with men, or Martians, has not reached a level playing field, and he is easily manipulated. I found myself asking in a few places why Tarzan was being such a jerk, but this is Tarzan at this point in his life; he hasn’t learned enough being around men. Boy, is he gonna learn! My only minor grouse was the final page: I did not want this change to occur. Yes, it makes sense, but I liked this character as he had been. Overall grade: A

The art: There is something for everyone to drool over on every page: spectacularly epic setting, gorgeous men and women, Jane, Tarzan’s new togs, the blank expressions and subtle sneers, Jane at the bottom or Page 6, the technology of 7, Dejah n 8, Jane with an “item” on 9 and 10, the anger on 13, the extraordinary clash on 13 – 16, the beauty and revulsion of the audience chamber, and the final panel on Page 21. Roberto Castro is a treasure as an artist and anything he illustrates I will seek out! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Matching Castro’s skills is colorist Alex Guimaraes. I love how the blue of Jane’s outfit makes her contrast everything about the settings she’s in, reinforcing her character’s conflict. The classical use of purple as a royal color that instantly brings nobility to one’s mind. Jane’s eyes are stunning–My favorite coloring was the final panel on Page 6. Helium’s people are gorgeously red, especially Dejah. And having the sound effects in bold colors made them enhance the action all the more. Guimaraes is also to be treasured! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, yells, and some wonderful sound effects all spring from Marshall Dillon’s creativity. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is must own material for any fan of either of Burroughs’s characters. Vicious political scheming is pulling these two titans together and we move closer to this collision. The tension continues to escalate. The story, art, and action are dynamite in this Dynamite book. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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