By: Arvid Nelson (writer), Edgar Salazar (artist), Maxflan Araujo (colorist), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator)

The Story: The Gods of Mars, Part 1: John Carter has been gone from Mars for 10 years. When he is finally able to return, he is in a lush, jungle environment, unlike the deserts he knew. And finds strange plant creatures attacking friends he once knew.

The Review: Right off, the visuals were awesome. This is Edgar Salazar’s first turn on Dynamite’s Barsoom, and he is very well assisted by Maxflan Araujo on colors. Salazar’s world is beautifully detailed. The opening page and following double splash page are arresting. The combination of distant mountain top forts, wide lawns edged by blue trees and an ocean make a scene that is strangely haunting. The skill of the colorist really makes itself obvious on the double splash where he has constructed a play of primary colors that fit beautifully together and draw the eye to the blues, which are the strangest to us, and point to Carter’s danger. Carter and Tars Tarkas are heroically drawn and I love Salazar’s pencil-gray shading instead of the usual black. It’s a bit of seeing the puppet strings, and the construction of the art, which layers in more texture.

Storywise, Nelson is working with a hit with Burroughs’ second Barsoom novel “The Gods of Mars”. Burroughs never wasted any time in throwing his heroes into the fire and Nelson doesn’t either. Readers unfamiliar with the Barsoom canon will have to hang on, but this is a good roller coaster to get aboard. The action, danger, spills and mysteries will keep any adventure reader satisfied.

Conclusion: OK. So, no secret. I love this series and I loved this issue. The visuals are beautiful. The adventure is breakneck. Pick it up.

Grade: A-

-DS Arsenault