By: Arvid Nelson (writer), Carlos Rafael (artist), Carlos Rafael (colorist), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator)

The Story: The Pirate Queen of Mars, Part 5 of 5, “The Death That Creeps Within the Ice”: Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium and Phandari the renegade Pirate Queen of Mars are on the run from the bigger pirates. It’s like Terminator where the damned pursuer will just not die….

The Review: This is the second of two sword and planet books I picked up from Dynamite this week (see my review of Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #3 for the other) and adventure is something that Dynamite is working hard at nailing every time. Dynamite brings some beautiful artists to pencil the work of writers who have done the work to soak themselves not just in the geographic and plot details of these classic science fictional worlds, but in the tone and feel of the originals. Dejah Thoris reads like one of the Barsoomian adventures of her son Carthoris, in Burroughs’ original series (minus the romance, of course). The enemy are vile and repugnant and the heroes are beautiful and human. The dangers are many and the twists and turns of the plot keep coming. This does mean that some of the emotional content of the book is given very little, if any, space, but to some extent, I didn’t come to Barsoom to be moved by the human condition or blown away by sophisticated, theme-based plots. I came for the sword play and super-science. I stayed for the radium pistols and air ships. This book is unashamedly cast in the mold of Barsoom, with the skills and talents of today.

The art, of course, is great. The heroines of the story are beautiful and the action is fast and bloody. The ice worms were a nice touch and were suitably gruesome, although not half as much as the pirate kind after he’d taken a couple of hits, or that decayed head that followed the story around. Stylistically, there is an airbrushed quality to the beauty of the characters, making Dejah and Phondari flawless in an unearthly way airbrushed celebrities are. While I like this a little less than a more realistic style, this in no way is a shot on the quality, which is quite high.

Conclusion: An adventurous conclusion to a pure Barsoomian adventure yarn. I can see people wanting to pick this up in the trade edition, but if you’ve been following this story since the beginning of the arc, you’d be foolish not to pick up this finish.

Grade: B

-DS Arsenault

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