Review - Dejah Thoris #0 (@DynamiteComics)

"We killed it. We killed our planet."

Climate change is real despite what some will tell you otherwise. On Mars for instance in Dejah Thoris #0 from Dynamite Entertainment, the disbelief led to its destruction and Dejah Thoris is tasked with saving it. The issue is written by Amy Chu, illustrated by Pasquale Qualano, colored by Valentina Pinto and lettered by Thomas Napolitano.

The untold story of the Red Martian princess! After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian prisoner...

Dejah Thoris already has a pretty robust following and character awareness, but Chu is looking to dive a little deeper into her past to provide some context for her current personality. In that regard, Chu does a pretty solid job in showing traits such as persistence, curiosity and a nod towards being slightly rebellious. The issue unfolds in a way where these traits are revealed through her actions and interactions; Chu could've lazily told the reader these things but instead she let's the reader learn along the way. And despite the issue being relatively short, Chu doesn't feel the need to rush anything and get to any set point. There's also a pretty intriguing cliffhanger at the end of the issue that Chu uses to ensure Dejah Thoris is going to be challenged in her learning more about herself.

Qualano relies on an art style that somewhat softens the intensity of Dejah Thoris and the world she's learning more about. Most characters are rendered with bold, black outlines that give them sufficient definition when standing next to one another. Qualano renders Dejah Thoris with an abundance of youthful vigor and eschews the bolder lines used elsewhere for softer lines to render her. Panels are arranged in a pretty simple way, with more of an emphasis on insets and overlays where Qualano deviates from the standard grid layout. Pinto's colors are bright and vivid despite the seemingly dour circumstances facing Dejah Thoris and her people.

Dejah Thoris #0 gives readers a glimpse into the earlier times of Dejah Thoris' life before she became ruler. She's faced with adversity in that her trust might end up causing more harm than good. Chu's script is evenly paced and keeps the reader hooked. Qualano's illustrations are strong and effectively bring the characters (even the more beastly ones) to life. Dejah Thoris #0 will definitely be worth your time if you're pretty steeped in the Edgar Rice Burroughs mythology and want to learn more about one of its most popular characters.

Dejah Thoris #0 is available now.