“Warlord of Mars” is an adult comic re-imaging of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “A Princess of Mars.” I can’t directly compare the storyline to the original source because it’s been many years since I’ve read the work, but much of what I remembered seemed to match up in the adaptation, albeit with some introductory changes to round the characterizations a bit. The artwork contained in this collection of volumes is quite well done. I liked the clarity in the individual cover art pieces, as well as the in-comic art, which captures the characters and settings for the work as Burroughs’ imagined. There’s graphic images of gore/blood and nudity (or near nudity), but nothing’s actually shown on the latter note.
John Carter is a Virginia native, a soldier of the Confederate Army who has his world upturned when, after a harrowing encounter, teleports into a kingdom of Mars. The world seems quite grand and much unlike his own – with a distinct group of green aliens who speak in a tongue much different than his. He’s taken under the supervision (and ultimately building friendship) of Tars Tarkas. After some time spent in recovery, learning their language and customs, Carter meets a princess (Dejah Thoris) who wants to return to her kingdom.
John Carter’s a likable hero to follow, a gentleman yet one who’s apt to defend himself in the heart of a conflict or challenge. He learns quickly, doesn’t hesitate to explore the realm around him, and is loyal to his comrades. The pacing is pretty quick in this, and it’s a simple, yet enjoyable story as John navigates the realms he travels to in Mars, learns the culture and technology there, and ultimately falls in love with Dejah Thoris in his encounters and travels with her.
I think for an action oriented, sci-fi story, it was well done. Given the pacing of the work, it was appropriate for the story told. It wasn’t my favorite because there are the all-too-familiar tropes of the princess needing saving, John Carter seemingly learning everything with lightning speed and not seeming to have any major flaws, yet I still found it enjoyable. I used to read a lot of Burroughs works (Tarzan mainly, but I think I read the first two John Carter books when I was in middle school) when I was younger, and I appreciated this first installment of what is a multi-volume collection. This is certainly a collection would think Burroughs’ readers and sci-fi/fantasy comic fans would appreciate.
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Dynamite Entertainment.