Story: Jeff Parker
Art: Dean Kotz
Colors: Omi Remalante
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
What They Say:
“Warlord Of Earth” As the Martians use their monster crab machines to destroy society as we know it, John must scour the deepest recesses of his mind, and find the memory of Barsoom (aka Mars!) that will unlock the secret to getting these damn lil’ green dudes off our planet! By JEFF PARKER (Aquaman, Future Quest) and DEAN KOTZ (Dungeons & Dragons)!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As we hit the halfway mark of this five-issue series, Jeff Parker gives us some of the necessary backgrounds so we can move into the back half with everything we need to know for the most part. While the Mars Attack aspect is not something that’s clicked with me in comics before, I’m enjoying it in context of the Warlord of Mars because it upends things with them and plays with some hokey science, which Park plunges ahead in using with ease. Dean Kotz established the look of this early on and pivoted easily from Mars to Earth and gets to do that within this issue as well with the flashback, which definitely helps to bind everything together more clearly. His artwork is well-suited to this story, though his interpretation of Carter doesn’t quite land for me.
Bringing Carter to awareness after quite the long slumber has him adjusting to the modern world fairly well, even with Martians attacking like crazy. They’re actually a bit on the quiet side where they are, getting some food into all of them at Judy’s Diner, and this is used to help clear up some of the confusion as to why Carter is feeling out of step with everything, including revealing that this is his first time back on Earth as he never left Barsoom before. There are continuity aspects that may get some people furrowing their eyebrows but it’s easy to ignore here as we see how the Martians were created and those on Barsoom took them in as normal looking babies at first. That they grew into what we see, skin falling off and turning horribly violent, is an amusing sequence of events and it shows just how bad it got on Barsoom and what Carter lost along the way in the fight. It’s not a huge origin story but it succeeds well enough.
The back half sets things up for Carter getting back into action – which means a trip to the leather good store as a Hawaiin shirt ain’t gonna cut it. But we’re also treated to some good stuff on the Martian side as they begin to send communications up the line to the leaders that Carter is here, which has a primal level kind of fear response within them. They’ve been causing widespread destruction but in a chaotic and random manner so there are a lot of surviving systems to employ for humanity. But you know in the next two issues that it’ll focus on other things as Carter gets ready to go toe to toe with them. But it’s worthwhile to see the Martian leadership reactions upon hearing that Carter is here since that’s something that is very much imprinted on them. As characters, they still comes across as very hard to write for and that’s reflected in the mix of speech patterns when we do geto understand them.
Warlord of Mars Attacks really is an interesting blending of two properties that are not easy to work with. John Carter himself has been problematic in some ways to write for a few years now while the Mars Attacks side is just as limited since you can give them only so much voice. Blending the two does have its moments and there’s definitely some good humor in it. I can still hear the Martians voices from the film mixed into all of this and that does help to smooth out some aspects of it. This is a fun issue with a lot of good gags and some great action sequences with the comedy mixed in as only these Martians can do. Parker’s got the right idea in general but it’s a hard pair of properties to work with.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: August 21st, 2019