In Review: Warlord of Mars #31
The covers: Dejah stands bound looking down in resignation at a group of green men who look ready to seize her. Salvation is behind her, for falling from the sky is John Carter with his sword ready. The anger on his face is apparent. Decent cover from Joe Jusko. The second cover is by Lucio Parrillo with Dejah and John both in chains, seen only from behind, looking upon an enormous Thark in a red cloak, about to carve the pair. Great muscle work and coloring on this cover. Overall grades: Jusko B and Parrillo A
The story: A new five part tale, Tyrant of Mars, begins with this opening by Arvid Nelson titled “The Guardian Twins.” The first three pages showcase the joy of Barsoom in now being lead by John Carter. There is a mystery that has captured the Earthman’s attention: The Twin Spires of Greater and Lesser Helium. Both structures pierce the sky, but no one knows who built these “Guardian Twins” or why. This is “(a) mystery John Carter is determined to uncover.” With his Carthoris and group of men, John enters and things quickly go bad. What occurs is a nice Ray Harryhausen action sequence, but I was actually more interested in what is found on Page 16. This was a fantastic discovery and it had me feeling anxious instantly. Pages 17 – 20 had me hanging on every word. And what made this issue a homerun for the story was Page 21, which showed these characters were smart: they addressed every concern I had as a reader, and it’s rare for any book to do this so immediately. The last page was a great cliffhanger and promises big things for next issue. Overall grade: A+
The art: Stunning work on every page by Wagner Reis. I’m used to seeing Reis’s work as a cover artist. His interior work is even better! I was floored by the unbelievable backgrounds. This is the best Helium I’ve ever seen! His skyships are also amazing. His characters also look fantastic: all the men are big and buff and Dejah is great — I know I’ll never look at butterflies the same way again! I do have to ask, where did Dejah get that gun from on Page 6? I looked carefully on her previous appearances in this issue, but didn’t see where she could carry a gun on her person. Still, I had fun looking. The creatures in the middle of the book are also cool; a simple idea twisted just enough to make them sick! The discovery on Pages 15 and 16 is appropriately disgusting and have me riveted to every following page. The emotion on the characters’ faces is also really good, such as on Pages 16, 17, and 20 – 22. This is simply stunning! Overall grade: A+
The colors: The first six pages of this book have tremendously vibrant colors befitting a parade in an alien metropolis. Inlight Studios do a great job on every page. I love the red men and women of Mars looking this red. The light from the adventurers’ lanterns were also pretty cool as they entered a chamber. The three panel flashback was a neat way to communicate with colors that a tale from the past was being told. The red sunset was gorgeous. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Scene setting, narration, dialogue, annotation, and sound effects provided by Marshall Dillon. I love the narration font. Overall grade: A
The final line: Get this, now! 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.