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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confederate Sociopaths of Mars, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: Warlord of Mars TP (Paperback)
This is a collection of the nine issues of Dynamite Entertainment's comic book `Warlord of Mars'. It is an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' out-of-copyright novel `A Princess of Mars', the first in his John Carter of Mars series.

The artwork is what I would call American-Japanese - it is not one of the traditional American styles of comic-book art, but seems influenced by Japanese art - unlike the cover of the book, which is in the Frazetta book-cover style, and may mislead readers into expecting a more traditional artwork. - it did me. However, the art is reasonable enough for the story, although occasionally the relative size of the green Martians and our eponymous hero does seem to be variable.

The scripting is also reasonable enough for this type of story. It is almost 40 years since I read `A Princess of Mars', so I may have forgotten a lot of the detail, but the adaptation fits well enough into the nine-episodes.

The only extra bit seems to be at the very beginning, some scene setting of John Carter and his prospecting partner getting into a saloon fight with a party of Union soldiers, and gunning them down when they insist on the two former Confederate soldiers drinking a toast to the late Abraham Lincoln; though their disrespect to the State of Virginia seems to be the trigger. The union troops have just returned from massacring some Apaches, which might tie-in to the hostile Indians responsible for the death of Carter's partner, and his finding of the cave that sends him on his trip to Mars. There is also a bit of back story for Tars Tarkas, the green Martian, which continues for the first two issues - Carter reaching Mars in the third. Another noteworthy theme seems to be Carter's nonchalant slaughter of red Martians who get in his way, helped by his increased strength due to Mars' lower gravity. After escaping from the green Martians, he is taken in by some red Martians from the city of Zodanga, who give him an introduction to their military. There he rescues a nobleman who in turn gets him a job as guard to the city's leader, who's son is to be married to the rescued Deja Thoris in order to cement a peace treaty. She refuses to escape with Carter, as she is honour bound to go through with the marriage, having been told that he was dead. Carter is not allowed to kill her fiancé, as this would also be dishonourable; so he escapes from the city, unnecessarily throwing a guard off a high tower along the way. He then meets up with Tars Tarkas, recruits him and a green Martian horde, and attacks the city of Zodanga, leading to the massacre of the population, and throws the fiancé to Tars Tarkas for him to kill, thus enabling an honourable resolution to the romantic triangle. He then leads some rescued prisoners of war back to Deja Thoris's home city of Helium. Note that the rescued prisoners have no problem with the massacre of the Zodangan civilians. Carter makes much of his honour as a gentleman of Virginia - I wonder if the author of the comics is not from the South...

Note also that the Classical Greeks and Romans would also have had no qualms about the massacre of the citizens, as they went in for that sort of things themselves. We moderns tend to forget that fact.

Anyway, apart form the misleading covers - I would have preferred more a more traditional style of art myself - this is a reasonable adaptation of the original novel, and a reasonable comic book serial.
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