Dejah Thoris continues to learn about the responsibilities of being Jeddak, and has been given command of a mission to conduct atmospheric tests on Barsoom…or has she? Check out this Major Spoilers review of Dejah Thoris #6 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Pasquale Qualano
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Thomas Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 11, 2018
Previously in Dejah Thoris: The Princess of Helium went off on her own with just a small crew, to try to find the fabled Gardens of Mars and to bring life back to the arid planet. She succeeded, only to find that the continuous production of water underground was destroying the city of Thurd. To save Thurd, the water was lost, and she learned about a leader willing to sacrifice all for the sake of his people.
ON A SECRET MISSION
Dejah Thoris #6 starts out the Jeddak of Helium (Dejah Thoris’ grandfather) giving a speech as he prepares to launch a new vessel for the mission which Dejah Thoris is commanding. She was told it was a secret mission; the speech says it’s for conducting atmospheric testing. As if that’s not bad enough, Dekana, the scientist she met a few issues ago and does not particularly get along with, is also part of the team. The crew is introduced, and the Captain, Keel Kors, gets named. There’s an interesting looking female crew member with him, who is never named and doesn’t show up again in this issue. This bugged me a little, and now I want to know more about her, but she’s plainly not really a main character. A Zodangan traitor attacks; the Captain grabs him, and Dekana kills him. Dejah Thoris’ friend Sajad is seriously wounded and has to stay behind.
Nevertheless, the mission must go on. As there’s nothing to do yet, Captain Keel Kors takes Dejah Thoris on a tour of the ship and clumsily flirts with her. There are a lot of weapons on the ship, and the Captain defends this, calling other races savages. Then our heroine catches a sign of the observatory and its telescope and exclaims, “That is the most magnificent piece of equipment I’ve ever seen!” The Captain is standing right next to it, and I haven’t read enough of the title to know whether this is meant to be a double entendre or not. He shows her to her quarters and she shuts him out.
She awakens in the middle of the night to find Dekana’s pet Sorak (a cat-reminiscent creature) scratching at her door. The handsome Captain is there too, and they are attacked by a Zondangan assassin. They strike back at him (including the Sorak), and the assassin flees. They follow his trail of blood back to Dekana’s quarters, and go in to check on her, only to find her in bed with the Jeddak, who is understandably a bit cranky. Everyone forgets about the assassin, and the Jeddak takes Dejah Thoris to the cargo hold to reveal their true mission – they have radium cannons and he intends to destroy the Zodangan fleet once and for all.
The story lost me with the assassin bit. Granted, seeing one’s grandfather in bed with a scientist one hates is shocking, especially if you were expecting to see a big bleeding guy with a dagger. But I don’t think it’s so shocking that one completely forgets to mention the big bleeding guy with a dagger. And the more I think about it, the weirder the possibilities get.
THE COLORS OF BARSOOM
As you would expect, in Dejah Thoris #6, everyone is very buff and no one wears much in the way of clothes. It is a book full of eye candy. And I’m fairly impressed with how many outfit variations there can be using just pasties, bikinis, loincloths, and interesting capes. Everyone has their own distinctive look, and I do love the headdresses. If I have any quibble at all about the dress, it is the penchant for women to wear four-inch heels. Even as slippers at night.
I really like the ships. They’re so interesting and organic in shape, both the exteriors and the interiors. The world itself feels very different and exotic. I also like the bright, sandy color palette used for the surface of Barsoom, and the contrast with the blues and purples of the ship and space.
BOTTOM LINE: THINGS START TO GET INTERESTING
If you like adventures on the Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs, this seems to be the start of an arc which could be interesting. I suspect Dejah Thoris, with her recent contact with some of the other peoples, may not be so gung-ho about blasting the Zondangans out of existence, and it could be interesting to see how she deals with this.