Review - John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1

"But you should fear none of these like you should fear my beloved John Carter."

On the off-chance humanity ever manages to colonize another planet, here's hoping that is'a a hospitable one. After all, what good is setting up shop somewhere new if the locals feature massive, multi-armed green aliens? In John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, a newcomer to the planet will realize that the welcome wagon may not be ready to be deployed. The issue is written by Ron Marz, illustrated by Abhishek Malsuni, colored by Nanjan Jamberi and lettered by Rob Steen.

Readers are taken back to Barsoom, where John Carter is facing quite the task in having to save both the world and his beloved Dejah Thoris. The enemy he's tasked with defeating could prove to be more than even he's ready for though. None of it's really that new for John Carter, but the path he'll have to take in order to see everything through to the end is much more difficult this time around.

Marz hasn't been shy about his love for getting to write John Carter; in fact, he went so far as to say it's "literally a dream come true." That enthusiasm shows, with the first issue featuring a lot of introductions to main players and primarily being told through the point of view of Dejah Thoris, who's in captivity. Despite the fact that the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate is finally settled and Dynamite is set to delve into that world heavily, Marz doesn't really offer much in John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 that's new and completely different. Marz has a great feel for the John Carter universe, effectively portraying those main characters in ways that doesn't stray to far from what's been established for them to date. The plot itself feels a little basic, with Dejah playing the role of damsel in distress and John Carter the macho hero.

While the story itself feels a little tired, Malsuni doesn't disappoint when it comes to the illustrations. Barsoom is a world replete with all manner of individual, character and beauty, all of which Malsuni displays really well. John Carter maintains his trademark physique, while Dejah Thoris is presented in her typically oversexed manner. There are some intense battle scenes throughout that boast a lot of varied characters, all of whom Malsuni ensures is detailed particularly well. It's clear that Malsuni put a lot of work into the illustrations, sparing nothing when it came to giving the reader a fully realized world for the characters to inhabit.

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 is essentially more of the same story from the same character in many ways. That's not a bad thing, as it's a pretty triumphant return to Barsoom for John Carter and Dejah Thoris. Marz's script is a little formulaic, but you can tell he's clearly elated to be writing a John Carter story, as his enthusiasm is readily apparent in his immense dialogue. Malsuni's illustrations ground the book in familiar territory and offer some very creative interpretations of characters many will instantly recognize. John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 isn't exactly a brand new entry in a storied franchise, but it is a welcome return to characters we all know and love.

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 is in stores now with interiors below.