JOHN CARTER OF MARS, VOL. 1 #3
STORY: Chuck Brown
ART: George Kambadais
COLORS: George Kambadais
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Dave Acosta
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Jonathan Case; George Kambadais; Nathan Szerdy; Dave Acosta; Rachel Hollon and David Turner (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2022)
Based on the characters and stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
John Carter is a character that first appeared in the serialized novel, Under the Moons of Mars (The All-Story, 1912), written by Tarzan creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs. When it was first collected and published in hardcover, the novel was re-titled, A Princess of Mars (1917), the first of Burroughs' “Barsoom” novels, which were set on Barsoom, a fictional version of Mars. The novel also introduced Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars.
John Carter is a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War who is transported to Mars via “astral projection.” There he gets a new body that is similar to the one he leaves behind on Earth. John makes several trips back and forth between Earth (which the Martians call “Jasoom”) and Barsoom, and Dejah and John eventually marry and have two children.
John Carter first appeared in comic books in the early 1950s and continues today as a comic book character via Dynamite Entertainment. His latest comic book series is John Carter of Mars. The series is written by Chuck Brown; drawn and colored by George Kambadais; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry. In the new series, a re-imagining of and a sequel to the original “Barsoom” novels, John Carter is back on Earth and discovers that Martians are being transported to Earth while humans are being transported to Mars.
John Carter of Mars Volume 1 #3 opens with an explanation of how the villains of this piece, the Therns, have gained a new ability with Ninth metal. It all has to do with an asteroid made of pure Ninth and how it affects both Earth and Mars.
Shifting to the Kingdom of Helium on Mars, Dejah has joined with the human army officers, Fred and Charlie, in order to benefit the denizens of both planets. But first she has a lesson for them: how to jump on Mars the way John Carter once did. This leads to a reunion for Fred … some of it with a group of angry humans.
Meanwhile, on Earth, John Carter continues his boogie-woogie with the Green Martians. Despite some generosity on his part, Carter may still have to fight for his life.
THE LOWDOWN: Since July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department has been providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles. One of them is John Carter of Mars Volume 1 #3. It is the third solo Dynamite John Carter comic book that I have read.
With John Carter of Mars, writer Chuck Brown has created the freshest take on John Carter, if not ever, then, in a long time. Brown simultaneously reinvents Burroughs' influential series and revitalizes it with fast-paced cross-planet action. The first two issues worked on character development, but this third issue focuses on advancing the plot via big action scenes.
As I have previously written, George Kambadais's art and coloring remind me of the work of Darwyn Cooke and also of the graphic design of the Cartoon Network series, “Samurai Jack.” Kambadais' art and storytelling recall the energy and sense of wonder of classic Silver Age comic books. His art super-charges Brown's script and transforms it into powerful and attention-grabbing storytelling.
So the first two issues were not flukes. John Carter of Mars has an excellent writer and artist, and the result is a fantastic read that can appeal to a broad audience.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of Dynamite's Barsoom comic books will want to try John Carter of Mars.
[This comic book includes “Dynamite Dispatch” June 2022, which features an interview with writer Christopher Priest.]
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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