Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris
#2: Pirate Queen of Mars

by Arvid Nelson, Carlos Rafael (Dynamite, 2012)

There's a scene early in the action of Pirate Queen of Mars, the second in Dynamite's derivative Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris series, that boggles the imagination.

The princess Dejah Thoris is strolling along quietly in her standard princess outfit -- a small bit of wispy cloth and two round metal discs, each about the size of a half-dollar -- when danger threatens. That quick, the feisty red-skinned warrior princess has her double-bladed sword at the ready, eager and willing to tackle the situation blade first.

But wait ... um, what? Where was she hiding that sword??!

In a later scene, Dejah is captured, artfully posed against a stone column with her hands tied above her head, and a guard who has recently searched her (off-panel, thankfully) reports finding a small gold coin of some consequence on her person. It's not as hard to conceal as a sword, I'll grant you, but where did she tuck away that coin? Exactly how thorough was that search? Did the guard at least use gloves?

See, questions like this really throw off the momentum of the story, which is really just a bit of sword-and-science fiction folderol set in the John Carter world of Edgar Rice Burroughs. You have Dejah's red-skinned people, a member of the giant green-skinned, four-armed tribe and a new (to me, at least) band of gray-skinned pirates who eat people. Scantily clad babes are, apparently, exceptionally tasty.

Oh, did I mention that much of the action takes place at a icy Martian pole, an icy landscape that forces the less-than-a-bikini-clad princess to cover up her bare skin with, um, fur-lined boots and a hood. Good thing nothing from mid-calf to clavicle can feel the cold, eh?

The story by Arvid Nelson deals with a lost treasure and giant, flesh-eating worms. That's all there really is to say about it. The art by Carlos Rafael is well-executed, and a treat for the eyes if you believe swordswomen like Xena were just too darned modest for words.

review by
Tom Knapp

31 March 2012

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