By: Robert Place Napton (writer), Roberto Castro (artist), Alex Guimaraes (colors), Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator), Joseph Rybandt (editor)
The Story: On the Barsoom of 100,000 years ago, the scientist Tak Nan Lee from Korad races against time to find a way to replenish Mars’ atmosphere before there is nothing left. And he learns something of the strength of the red woman he has rescued. In the meantime, the Horzian general leads troops against the savage and powerful green hordes.
The Review: You know how sometimes in sales, you have a product that sells itself? I feel a bit that way about Dynamite’s new tale about ancient Barsoom. Dynamite is cracking open a mythos whose every nook I thought I’d explored long ago. Napton is injecting a healthy does of alien steampunk into a high-stakes tale of global extinction with epic battles that feel nearly Tolkeinian is scope, filled with a broad set of characters who are all definitely self-interested, with smatterings of altruism and humanity. The dialogue was pretty good, although I found a bit of flab in the beginning pages. One thing I usually trash a writer for is heavy exposition in the dialogue, but Napton was cautious with this and made the dialogue sound close to natural while giving the reader necessary information about the vast canvas he was painting on.
And speaking of canvas, Dynamite continues to pound out visually powerful books. Lopez really scored on the battle scenes, which he made huge and personal with careful choices of camera angle as the green hordes swept in. My favorite pages artwise were the double-page spread of the battle with stacked, panoramic panels. There were some undisciplined moments in the art, especially in the opening scene where I felt the exaggeration for effect was going a bit far, but I can’t help but say that I enjoyed the overwrought creepy fluidity of the scientist the Jeddak of Horz talks to in secret. And while I’m still on art, can I say that I picked up the Francavilla cover? It is awesome, soaking in the style of old pulp magazines.
Conclusion: 100,000 years before John Carter set foot on Mars, Dynamite told a story about the fall of Barsoom. It is totally cool. Pick it up!
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