Thursday, November 18, 2010

Warlord of Mars #1 - Guest Review by Simon Breeze

The original warrior of Mars returns from Dynamite!

Warlord of Mars is an enhancement of the Edgar Rice Burroughs story, Princess of Mars! If you thought you knew the story, think again! The series captures the grit and action of the original while expanding on it with new elements. The story is about John Carter, an ex-cavalry officer in the Confederate Army who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars!

Joining him in his adventures there are Tars Tarkas, his Martian comrade, and Dejah Thoris, a Martin Princess. This series is written by Arvid Nelson and is illustrated by Stephen (Avengers/Invaders) Sadowski and Lui Antonio, and features covers by Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Jusko and Lucio Parrillo!

I'm a huge fan of retro pulp science fiction, especially fantasy science fiction so when I found out that Dynamite were publishing the classic Edgar Rice stories of the War Lord of Mars as comics, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy and had it added to my pull list right away.

Then the fear set it! What if they mess it up? It is a classic after all, and there seems to be a strong history of stories like this being re-envisioned and turning into a big pile of Martian goo!

The days passed by, and honestly I would lay in bed at night drifting of to sleep dreaming of Martian Moon Princesses and green alien warriors wondering 'Have I made a mistake? Maybe I should cancel the subscription now while I have the chance?' To drift off in to the strange realms of my weird dreams with the final thought being 'It is only costing you a dollar, take a gamble!' Floating into faded thoughts.

Then the day came that settled my nerves and changed my worry to excitement and wishing the days away until my copy arrived. Dynamite posted the cover art on their website, and oh-boy what a treat! A five cover variant, each cover created by the artist in a classic fantasy science fiction style, the likes I haven't seen since I last looked at work by Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo - two of my biggest inspirations no less. Not only did they post the covers, but sample pages too! And how amazing did they look!

A week or so later my fevered and impatient wait was over - my comic subscription had arrived!

I took a gamble with the cover, I love them all, however I decided not to specify and let the fates decide. I pealed the packing back, and there it was, the cover I was dreaming of, one of my comic art heroes: J. Scott Campbell! I let out a triumphant whoop! My girlfriend rolled her eyes with an expression on her face of 'nerd' - eleven years of putting up with me you'd think she'd be getting use to it by now. I madly flicked through the pages, trying to take in as much as I could without blowing the story, we've all done that at one time or another, haven't we?

This looked good!

Then I sat down and read it. I couldn't believe it. So I had to read it again, what we're they playing at? I closed the cover, shock on my face. The crazy, crazy fools! They had pulled it off ... in spades!

This comic has checked all of my nerdy fantasy science fiction and comic boxes with a giant fat red marker pen. This has to be one of my favorite first issues for a while now. Arvid Nelson writing is bang on, the way he slips the story telling between Mars and Earth in 1866 is seamless, you never find yourself questioning any of it, no matter how 'fantasy' it gets. Stephen Sadowski art fits the story perfectly, again, right at home drawing cowboys and the wild-west as he is drawing the savage plains of Mars and alien creatures. The combination of the entire creative team behind this comic have click brilliantly to put together a wonderful story and reading experience.

The warlord of Mars is now a permanent item on my comic pull list, not only that I'll be getting the trade for sure. I can even see myself hunting down those variant covers as well.

A solid, ray-gun totting, scantly clad moon-princess rescuing 5 out of 5.

Warlord of Mars #1
Written by Arvid Nelson, pencilled/inked by Stephen Sadowski, coloured by Adriano Lucas, lettered by Troy Peteri
Cover Variants by Alex Ross (30%), Joe Jusko (30%), J. Scott Campbell (30%), Lucio Parrillo (10%)
Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Thanks to Simon for another enjoyable review - you can check out
Simon's blog to see more of his work including a couple of features on the recent Bristol-CON10 event.