My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Some of you may recall that I reviewed the first volume of an adult comic series called “Warlord of Mars,” which was a retelling of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s series based on “A Princess of Mars”. The comic featured the start of the journey for hero John Carter, the Princess Dejah Thoris, friend and alien leader Tars Tarkas among others.
Well, there’s a spinoff series to that particular comic called “Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris” and it features the aforementioned heroine taking the reins of the adventures. I think it’s set well before Dejah actually meets John Carter, by about 400 years.
“The Boora Witch” is the third volume of that particular series. Only…it took me a while to sort through my thoughts on this. The artwork is quite well done and I liked the compilation of covers they included in the galley for each issue as it was released before combining them all into one consolidated volume (though one should note that considering this is an adult comic and delves into many archaic fantasy tropes of yesteryear, Dejah’s posed provocatively and about as scantily clad as she is on the cover.
I knew what I was getting into when I picked this up, though. For what it’s worth, I like Dejah and wanted to see more of what the series would do with her character in subsequent adventures in the storyline.
I went into this volume blind because I hadn’t read any of the previous installations of this series, but the gist of the story is that Dejah becomes subjected to and manipulated by the magic of the Boora Witch. The Boora Witch invades Dejah’s body (a la “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” style), subjecting her to all kinds of horrible things – pretty much setting her nation at war, manipulating familiar characters and enemies to turn on each other, and all without Dejah knowing the true extent of the damage she’s done until she’s saved by her father and male soldier companion.
Suffice to say, when Dejah comes out of the trance, she’s absolutely horrified at what she’s done and leaves her kingdom behind in shame and secret. I think even at one point she wants to end her own life, but in transition to that darkness, she sees an invasion of giant insects called the Sith and saves a population of people subject to their torments.
I was of two minds reading this work – the critical part of me hated the fact that Dejah was subjected to some of the things the Boora Witch made her do. I hated the fact that she’s manipulated through the first part of this story and has a passive role that has her “saved” by her male companions. But at the same time, I understood the betrayal and depression she felt for the things she did while under the Boora Witch’s control, how it manipulated the political relations between kingdoms, and I did like seeing her play more of an active role where she’s defending other characters against the Sith. It still felt like a threadbare story to me when I considered the whole of it. I wasn’t necessarily taken with the scenarios or the subsequent development of the characters as much as I would’ve liked, despite reading it quickly to the end. It’s worth reading for an afternoon perusal, and if you like the Dejah Thoris series in terms of the artwork and a quick conflict, but as far as the story went in and of its own consideration, I really think it could’ve been more engaging and had the characters have greater coming to terms and weight than what it did, especially for Dejah. I am looking forward to seeing if the next volume brings more to the forefront for Dejah, though, and maybe I might find a flow to the series from there.
Overall score: 2.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Dynamite Entertainment.