Written by Ron Marz
Art by Abhishek Malsuni
Letters by Rob Steen
Colors by Nanjan Jamberi
Published by Dynamite Comics
Release Date: 11/05/2014
This review must start with a disclaimer, even a confession: I’m not up on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, although I know about his classic creations. And I’ve not read the mini-series that predates this new ongoing series. Ultimately, I’m reading this because I like the writing of Ron Marz, including his run on Green Lantern and recent work on Witchblade.
John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 is essentially exposition to bring readers up to speed. That’s not a bad thing because it’s necessary and done well. Carter’s wife, the princess of Mars has been imprisoned – chained in a cell for interrogation. Reluctantly, she tells the story of her husband and his origins to her captors.
By revealing this information, the reader is quickly and effectively immersed into the universe of John Carter, whether they’ve read the mini-series or are a new to the book. The exposition is tightly written and well supported by the art of Abhishek Malsuni.
Visually, the colors by Nanjan Jamberi really pop, and it really adds to the quality of the book. I love the detail in Malsuni’s characters, both human and non-human, and especially love the close-ups of the princess’s face. What does put me off a little though is the human bodies, which much like superhero comics, gives all of the characters a great deal of unrealistic muscle and in the case of the princess, a body that is endowed beyond reality. As a straight guy, I get the appeal, but I find it distracting and a little over top. I understand this type of book lends itself to a lot semi-clad warriors and women, and I’m sure many readers won’t care, but to me it detracts a little from the book and takes away the focus on what promises to be a good story and series.
John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 is great start to a new ongoing series, and I’m sure fans of the mini-series or the broader works of Burroughs will be pleased. And the ending provides a great twist that will have readers picking up the second issue. And despite my concerns about the art, I’m looking forward to seeing this series develop.