When those that claim to be gods turn out to be mortals, there’s only one thing for John Carter to do – bring it all down to the ground. Only he has to get away from the black pirates first.

WARLORD OF MARS #14
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Illustrator: Edgar Salazar
Colorist: Marcelo Pinto
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Covers: Joe Jusko, Stephen Sadowski, Lucio Parrillo
Editor: Joseph Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Warlord of Mars: Having been transported back to Mars, John Carter found himself in the middle of the Forbidden Valley of Dor. There, he met with long time friend Tars Tarkas, fought plant monsters and white apes, and found himself trapped in a labyrinth with Thuvia, the Maid of Mars.

FAST PROGRESSION

It’s been far too long since I read Gods of Mars, but one of the reasons I remember for not liking the book as much was how much the story dragged as John Carter, Tars Tarkas, and Thuvia made their way from the lower levels of the Thern stronghold to the upper levels of the citadel. Thankfully, Arvid Nelson doesn’t spend an entire issue dungeon crawling, instead opting to tell the tale in a mere six pages. That leaves plenty of time for the introduction of the black pirates – Black Martians who believe they are gods, and prey upon the Therns, just as the Therns prey on those that venture into the Valley (namely Green and Red Martians).

There is a good fight scene, where Thuvia and Tars escape on one of the black pirate’s fliers, while Carter ambushes a skiff, kills the pirates on board, and rescues a captured Thern princess. Of course if it was that easy, this book would be over really quick. The issue ends with the prissy princess and John Carter being captured by a large frigate of pirates.

Once again, I think Nelson has captured the essence of the original novel, and the adaptation works very well. While the plot builds rather predictably, that is more an issue with the Burroughs source material than anything Nelson is putting into the book.

UGH…THE ART

While Nelson’s writing is solid, I wish I could say the same thing about the art. Edgar Salazar has been doing a fairly good job in bringing the Warlord of Mars to life, but this issue is terrible. Last issue had some major printing/inking errors that resulted in Carter being turned into a eunuch, and this issue is even worse. When I exam the past issue against this one, I don’t think the fault is entirely Salazar’s – he’s doing acceptable work on the pencils – but the colorist has turned several of the pages to a messy mush.

I was set on the idea that Dynamite had a style that flowed through most of the books published by the company, but this issue looks like nothing I’ve seen before. One of the things the series’ colorists need to decide on is how red they are going to make the Red Martians, because last issue Thuvia didn’t look like she had been dipped in a bucket of Krylon Banner Red.

The cover by Joe Jusko is fantastic, the layouts are good, but the inking and coloring are killing this second arc.

BOTTOM LINE: WAIT FOR IT

For $3.99 I expected a bit more from this book than what I ended up paying for. Yes, the story is a good adaptation, and much of the wandering the hallways moments have been condensed adequately, but there is not $3.99’s worth of art. The art killed this issue for me, and if you aren’t dying to get your hands on this installment, I say wait until it hits the back issue bin and you can get it for a discount. Warlord of Mars #14 earns a disappointing 2 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

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...

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