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JOHN CARTER GOES COMMANDO
on October 23, 2011
Action, adventure, passion, violence, and larger-than-life characters are all staples of the tales told by Edgar Rice Burroughs and this comic collection of nine issues from Dynamite's WARLORD OF MARS captures all of those ingredients masterfully. I really enjoyed this book. Featuring an introduction by Burroughs himself which sets an appropriate atmosphere for what is to follow, this collection features excellent artwork (colored flawlessly), exciting adventure, a 15-page pictorial glossary at the book's end which includes a Martian map (as drawn by John Carter) and which fills in details about Martian life, as well as full-page variant covers for each of the issues. The stories are printed on the same kind of thin, glossy paper that you find in individual comics, making it a bit difficult to turn a single page at times but this is a minor nuisance given the rich panorama the artwork provides for the eye. Full page covers at the start of each issue are also featured.
The comics are rated Mature and the abundance of partial or complete nudity (as originally imagined by ERB himself in his Mars books, albeit with discreet shading where appropriate here) makes that rating understandable. It is a fun, smooth read, thanks largely to the artists' use of full-page panels to give breadth to their expansive landscapes (both of Earth and of Mars), interesting dialogue and narration, as well as tighter, smaller panels to create tension during heated verbal exchanges or hand-to-hand combat sequences.
As a sidenote, it's interesting that two of ERB's most iconic characters shared the same initials: John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan) and John Carter of Mars. Fans of ERB and science fiction, in general, should enjoy this book. The artwork alone will demand more than a second look.