Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris
#1: The Colossus of Mars

by Arvid Nelson, Carlos Rafael (Dynamite, 2011)

If there's one thing made plain in the artwork of Dynamite Entertainment's new series, Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris: it's that the weather on the red planet is quite sultry. As evidence, I offer the wardrobe of the book's eponymous Martian princess, who wears precisely enough clothing and ornamentation to fashion a pair of fancy earrings and a very small handkerchief, assuming you never actually have to blow your nose.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just commenting.

Colossus of Mars collects the first five issues of this series, which takes John Carter's romantic interest from the classic Edgar Rice Burrough series of sci-fi novels (now thrust into the public consciousness by an upcoming movie) and thrusts her back four centuries or so for a new round of storytelling.

Martians are immortal, apparently, which is something I didn't remember from reading the novels in my teen years (which is longer ago than I'm prepared to admit). Given that John Carter's adventures were already well documented by Burroughs and are also being expanded in his own comic-book line, Dynamite opted to stretch the boundaries of the brand with this set-in-the-past series that isn't constricted by Carter's presence. Here, Dejah is a member of the royal house of Lesser Helium, which is locked in civil war with Greater Helium; her family learns that the war has been fomented by the Yorn, a power-mad overlord who seeks only to keep Helium weak and unthreatening. That becomes a non-issue when he unearths an ancient colossus that gives him unlimited power, which he immediately unleashes on the hordes of green Martians as well as the city-states of red Martians already under his rule.

The book certainly doesn't set the bar too high; it's pretty basic sci-fi/fantasy stuff from any angle. You'll enjoy it if you like Burroughs' Mars series, no doubt, and you'll be glued to the pages if you have a soft spot for scantily clad immortal red-skinned girls. (And if the latter is what really excites you, you'll love the bonus pinup pages included at the end.)

review by
Tom Knapp

25 February 2012

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