By: Arvid Nelson (writer), Stephen Sadowski (illustrator), Shane Rooks (colors), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator)

The Story: Heretics of Mars, Part 3: Using his father’s talent for telepathy, Carthoris has discovered a second amulet of the kind worn by the caretaker of the great atmospheric factory that keeps Mars habitable. When he and tars Tarkas realize where it must have come from, they realize that someone is in great danger and Carthoris must save them.

The Review: I am now totally wrapped up in the intrigue and character of this 3-issue spacer between A Princess of Mars and Gods of Mars. It took me until the second issue to realize that this arc is a story about Carthoris and I love Dynamite’s vision of him. He is not yet the assured young warrior prince man who will later heroically rescue the love of his life, Thuvia of Ptarth. He is in the first blush of independence from his mother, quick with a sword, but controlling his anger and impatience with difficulty. It’s a thin line for a writer to walk to write a teenager well, but Carthoris is heroic and uncertain and unwise, while showing the seeds of the greatness he will eventually grow into. Kudos to Nelson for making such a sympathetic character that we’re still happy to see get slapped around by Tars Tarkas when he needs it. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Sola playing the role of the fool in this story, but I think if the audience Dynamite is aiming for is not necessarily people who have read Barsoom before, it should work. By the same token, after having seen Dejah Thoris in the driver’s seat in Napton’s series, her more standard role as damsel in distress feels a bit underused.

Artwise, Sadowski and Rooks continues to deliver great Carthoris and an even Tars Tarkas, although I am still not sold on Sadowski’s vision of Dejah Thoris nor of the architecture of Mars. The confrontation in the great hall of Helium looked like we were standing in a gothic cathedral, which is not really the feel I expect for Barsoom. That being said, I can’t get enough of Sadowski’s Carthoris and Tars Tarkas. The expressions of Carthoris alone are worth the price of admission.

Conclusion: All the pieces are in place. The mystery of Carter’s disappearance is not yet solved, but Carthoris, Tars Tarkas and Dejah Thoris are poised for next issue when Dynamite starts The Gods of Mars, the second novel I ever read. I can’t wait. Bring on the plant men!

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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