With resources dwindling, and the Jeddak seeking more power, it is up to the individual to try and save the tribe, rather than waiting for the group to come together.

Writer: Robert Place Napton
Artist: Roberto Castro
Colorist: Alex Guimaraes
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Covers: Joe Jusko and Francesco Francavilla
Editor: Joseph Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom: The planet of Mars is quickly losing its atmosphere, and if the scientists can’t get the Atmosphere Machine up and working soon, every living being on the planet – yellow, red, green, and so on – are going to die.


The last survivors of the Thark, Warhoon, and Korad have gathered in a refugee camp outside the capital of Horz, and the situation has become dire. The refugees are fighting each other for resources, including arena battles for canisters of air. It’s a situation General Van Tun Bor can’t stand any longer, and pleads with the Jeddak to allow the refugees into the city where the air is still plentiful. The Jeddak refuses, and readers can see the gears working in the leader’s mind that this will be his  opportunity to wipe out all the other tribes, allowing his to reign supreme.

General Bor must sense this as well, because he begins a secret plan to gather resources from a guarded armory, supply an underground catacombs, and lead the refugees to safety. The threat of the Green Martians is still present, and as one might expect, the treason is discovered and everyone is up against the firing squad. This is probably the most tragic storyline in the series thus far, and those with children will feel for the general and support his decision. Unfortunately, we know what happens 100,000 years down the road, so a happy ending in a book entitled Fall of Barsoom seems unlikely.

Fortunately, Tak Nan Lee, the lead scientist tasked with getting the Atmosphere Machine working has succeeded, but his report to the Jeddak doesn’t go well. Fearing he and the rest of the scientists will soon be killed for what they know, he convinces Anouk, the Red Martian to learn how the plant operates. He knows her race will be the ultimate survivors on the planet, and it will be up to her and her people to keep everyone alive in the long run. This segment is a really nice way to tie the this series into the greater Princess of Mars mythos, and the explanation is a logical one.


Roberto Castro continues to deliver solid art that brings energy to the panel. The fight scenes are laid out quite well, and for the most part, each character is distinct. The opening scene that introduces the general is a tad confusing when several long haired blonde men occupy the panel at the same time, but it all settles down after a few panels.

In the review copy I received there was one printing error where the word balloons from one scene were placed in a scene that was supposed to be in silence, which threw the story off for a moment, but that is really the only major error in the book.


While the upcoming movie may not bear similarity to the original source material, those who are interested in the history of Barsoom should get a better grasp of how the planet became the war torn world John Carter finds himself in. Fall of Barsoom is a story of desperation. It isn’t a happy story by any means, and even though there is a hint of romance, death is waiting to claim the characters. If you’ve picked up the previous issues, this one continues the story and pushes the emotion button a few times. Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #4 earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

1 Comment

  1. “In the review copy I received there was one printing error where the word balloons from one scene were placed in a scene that was supposed to be in silence, which threw the story off for a moment, but that is really the only major error in the book.”

    Try every copy of the book has this error — an indeed major and ridiculous snafu that tarnishes what has been a fair publication up to this point.

    The other issue with this text is the Tak Nan Lee storyline. When we left him after episode 3, Anouk wants to kill him and her people are poised for a rescue from the apparently scantily reinforced Atmosphere Plant in Development. Then we return in #4, her people make no appearance and she is quiet and docile. Was there an issue 3.5 that I missed somewhere? This was a terrible and inexplicably abrupt segue. I understand letting readers “fill in the blanks” and encourage writing that doesn’t explain every last detail, but this sort of enormous jump tests the viewers suspension of disbelief. I think it takes more than good looks to shut down thoughts of killing someone — at least some flowers.

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