By Ron Marz, Abhishek Malsuni and Nanjan Jamberi
John Carter: Warlord of Mars is the beginning of a new series in a long line of comics based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original Barsoom series. Writer Ron Marz wastes little time introducing the world and the important characters and he does it in a way that doesn’t feel forced or boring, even if you’re already aware of the basics. First issues are always tricky, even if you have over 100 years of history behind a character—the first novel was written back in 1912—but Marz, as he’s proven time and time again, manages to pack action, background information, intrigue and a great cliffhanger all together while managing to keep it interesting, even if the title character takes a bit of a back seat to everything else that’s going on.
Artist Abhishek Malsuni does his part to make sure that all the pages in which Marz goes over background information are at least detailed and interesting. He manages to capture most, if not all, of the main characters throughout the years of Burroughs’ series in two great splash pages that are worth spending a little extra time looking over. Even his battle scenes, though brief, are dynamic and packed with character and movement. Colorist Nanjan Jamberi only serves to add fuel to the fire, so to speak, as he adds his own flare and large color palette to the mix. Even his gradient backgrounds, behind the dynamic scenes, look great. The only issue that might be said, and it’s probably just personal taste, is the look of Dejah Thoris; she’s just so needlessly, uh, top heavy (that’s politically correct, right?) and in certain panels it just comes off as pandering.
Yes, Dejah Thoris has always been depicted as scantily clad, but it just seems that there’s too much emphasis on certain areas. This is not to say the book is bad, or the artist is bad, or Ron Marz is bad or whatever, that is not the case. Some people like that kind of character, which is fine, but for personal tastes it was, at times, a little much. Putting personal tastes aside, John Carter: Warlord of Mars was still an interesting and well crafted first issue. This character and world have been around as long as they have for a reason, and if you’re new to it, short of going back and reading the novels from Burroughs, this is still worth checking out.