By: Arvid Nelson (writers), Lui Antonio (art), Adriano Lucas (colors), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator)

The Story: The incomparable Dejah Thoris is the prisoner of the Jed of Zodanga, and a marriage is in the works. All that stands between John Carter and saving the love of his life is the entire Zodangan army and navy, with nary a friend in sight.

What’s Good: Warlord of Mars #8 is sword and planet adventure is modernized pulp tradition. Our highly intelligent, honor-bound hero is in big problems, navigating the strange world of Barsoom and trying to win his love, Dejah Thoris. I’ve read Princess of Mars many times, but Antonio and Lucas have worked wonders to bring what, until now, has only been possible to be seen in our imaginations. And it’s not that Marvel didn’t do a great job in its 1977-1980 series at bringing Barsoom to life, but the Marvel artists like Gil Kane, Sal Buscema and Pablo Marcos emphasized the dusty age of Mars, rather than the science that was so advanced as to appear magical. Antonio and Lucas make Barsoom hyper-advanced and deadly savage in a way that no other visualizations (even the Whelan covers on the novels in the 1980s) have done.

On the writing, Nelson makes the action tense and the emotions powerful. When Carter swears to kill the Zodangan Jed so that Dejah does not need to wed him, he’s truly hurt, and so are we, by her response. And in the tradition of the best and most sympathetic of characters, he doesn’t spend a whole lot of time anguishing over what to do. Carter is the best of the old pulp heroes, in whom thought and action are one. *Carter is going to solve this and win Dejah Thoris.* And we love him for it, because it’s the kind of response we wish we were capable of.

What’s Not So Good: Honest to goodness, I don’t even know why I leave this heading in my reviews of Warlord of Mars anymore. The radium fire Carter dodges is awesome and dramatic. The Warhoon and Thark battles are savage, but not nearly as surgically bloody as Carter’s contribution. And the resolution of Tars Tarkas’ arc is a tremendous release for the reader who’d been bound up in his tragedy. Do these sound like complaints?

Conclusion: Hanging a thousand feet off the ground with enemies above, while the love of his life is about to be married, against her will, to his enemy, John Carter is in deep trouble. Warlord of Mars #8 hurtles towards the climax of Dynamite’s reimagining of A Princess of Mars.

Grade: A-

-DS Arsenault

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