On arid Barsoom John Carter, Warlord of Mars, leads an army to cleanse the planet of the white apes. In England John Clayton, Viscount of Greystoke, has some trouble fitting into high society. The differences don’t end there, so read on to learn more.
John Carter and Tarzan are going to team up!
The scenes on Barsoom look fantastic.
Feels like two incongruent halves than a whole issue.
Previously in “Lords of Mars”… I’m not sure where, if anywhere, this fits into the continuity of either man, but all you really need to know going in is that John Carter is the Warlord of Mars and Tarzan is trying to acclimate to life on his estate in England.
This issue, while good, was a bit of an unfair tease. Based on the title and the cover I fully expected some sweet team-up action between the Warlord of Mars and the Lord of the Jungle, but throughout the book’s 22 pages both Carter and Tarzan remained between about 34 million and 250 million miles apart. It was like reading a comic with a main story and a back-up feature without any crossover. Presumably this was a pacing decision and works for the story writer Arvid Nelson is telling but, from the perspective of reader engagement, it’s made me a little sour. Maybe it’s trite, but I would have preferred to start the story in media res and fill in the backstory of their meeting through flashbacks. But I don’t get paid to write comics. As it stands, this issue is like the broccoli you have to finish before you’re allowed to have some cheesecake.
Other than that mid-sized gripe it was an enjoyable issue. Tarzan and Jane had some action fighting some upper-crust English mountebanks while John Carter and Kantos Kan continued their slaughter of the white apes of Mars. Despite the separation between to the two stories Jane makes an observation late in the book that may well hint at John Carter’s meeting next issue with the Holy Father of the Thern.
One gripe: A dialogue balloon appears to be missing on page 21 during Carter’s conversation with the Thern. I read a digital review copy, so hopefully this is fixed in the printed version.
I’m of two minds on the art. While it’s overall excellent it, much like the story, suffers from having to support two distant and distinct environments. Compared to the alien spectacle of Barsoom, a country estate in England can’t help but look mundane, even if the quality of illustration and level of detail is equal in both settings. Like steak and bananas, they’re great on their own but a poor combination.
BOTTOM LINE: STICK WITH IT AT LEAST UNTIL No. 2
I know it sounds like I’m heaping on this book more criticism than praise, but “Lords of Mars” is going to be a great series; I can tell already! While this issue focused on setting up the two characters for their inevitable encounter I’m confident issues two through six will be a lot more action packed. I suggest waiting until the second issue and getting both No. 1 and No. 2 at the same time; that way you won’t be strung along with the manufactured cliffhanger at the end of this issue. 2.5 stars, but I could go up to 3 if the next issue pays off.