If you’re one of the dozens of people who saw and enjoyed Disney’s “John Carter” and still need your fix of skimpily clad aliens of both sexes, look no further that Dynamite’s Warlord of Mars. Check out the official description of issue 18:
Poor John Carter! Beautiful Martians babes are falling in love with him left and right, but all he wants is his Dejah Thoris. Dejah is a captive of Issus, the false goddess of Mars, and Carter is racing to free her. With him is Carthoris, his son, and the greatest fleet of airships Mars has ever seen. But Issus has more than one devious trick in store for Carter and his navy.
As with my review of Invincible #92, this is my first time reading Warlord of Mars, but it’s no big deal, as Dynamite is kind enough to provide a “previously” page to help noobs like myself.
Not having read Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ Barsoom series, I can’t say how closely Arvid Nelson’s story adheres to the original, but it does closely match the tone of Burroughs’ other famous series, the Tarzan books. (Both series are pulp fiction originally serialized in magazine form before being collected in book format. See? You learn something new every day.) While Burroughs’ contributions to science fiction were significant, one could never accuse them of being too high-minded. The same can be said for Dynamite’s adaptation. But we’re not reading Warlord of Mars for big ideas and nuanced characters, are we? No, we’re reading it for other big things.
Despite the cover, WoM #18 is dominated by enough muscle-bound men in loin cloths to rival “300″. Covergirl Dejah Thoris makes a few…brief appearances… but she’s hardly the issue’s focus.
Edgar Salazar’s work is very good. The sleek airship lines contrast nicely with the humans and martians, whose sketchiness lends them a more organic feel. It’s occasionally difficult to distinguish between different characters, but that’s the only artistic complaint I have to offer. Good as Salazar’s work is, though, it’s Marcelo Pinto’s colors that rule the day. I shudder to think of the amount of time that went into airbrushing every panel. Every ship, breast, and bicep has a gradient of color to give it depth.
Warlord of Mars #18 is no masterpiece, but, to be fair, it’s not trying to be. It’s an unapologetically action-oriented book with a healthy dose of T&A (and T&A’s male equivalent).