John Carter’s not the only Earth man on Mars, as he and Gullivar Jones race to save John’s beloved in Warriors of Mars #4. Here’s the official description from Dynamite.
The return of the Thither people has forced an uneasy alliance between John Carter and Gullivar Jones. Fighting side by side, they venture into unknown regions to try to rescue Dejah Thoris and stop the Thither King from using the power of Gullivar’s carpet to change the face of Barsoom.
Robert Place Napton continues adapting Edwin Arnold‘s Gullivar Jones story to Dynamite’s Mars setting (it’s not that great a challenge, as Arnold’s novel was a very strong influence on Edgar Rice Burrough‘s A Princess of Mars). Napton offers us some great character moments, like when Dejah Thoris is temporarily reunited with her dead mother, and the interactions between John Carter and Gullivar are great. With the help of Jack Jadson‘s artwork, the two men seem to get along well enough without ever truly trusting or even liking one another. One of this issue’s only real problems is that John Carter is necessarily weakened – in terms personality – so that new character Gullivar gets a chance to shine.
The other problem is that, while Napton is more or less forced to include a wish-granting carpet (it was included in Arnold’s original 1905 tale) he allows it to dominate the story a bit too much, as it not only dictates aspects of the plot, but requires cumbersome technical details (when flying on the carpet, Dejah Thoris has to wish it to go in a particular direction, and feels the need to tell us this).
Jadson foregoes most of the sexy poses that *ahem* distract from the stories of the other Mars books, but fuzzy linework makes some scenes confusing, as do some confusing layouts, where it’s hard to tell which panel comes next. The colors by Alex Starling include some nice gradations from what looks like airbrushing (I imagine it’s digital) but lack of control in those gradations muddies the images and contributes to the confusion.
Despite some story slips and art issues, Warriors of Mars is making the best original contribution to Dynamite’s Mars universe and I look forward to the conclusion coming soon (now if only someone could explain to me why Mars has two suns…)