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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Warlord of Mars. Dejah Thoris Volume 2: Pirate Queen of Mars. Arvid Nenson (Writer), Carlos Rafael (Art), Carlos Lopez (Colours), Marshall Dillon (Letters). Dynamite Entertainmement (2012)

A very enjoyable story marred by a fantastically stupid consume for the leading character. In the rubble of the newly united  cites of Helium, a problem with the water supply is a disaster. Dejah Thoris  leads an expedition to the pumping station in the ice belt to see what the problem is. She finds that the pumping station crew have been locked up and then her craft is blown up. Pursuing the person who blew up her ship, Dejah is kidnapped by Phondari, a female pirate captain who is looking for something. When Phondrai's ship comes under attack  from an old enemy the situation becomes significantly more complicated and dangerous. The story moves at a fast pace, the action is loud and vivid, the reveals are very well staged and the conclusion is satisfying.
This story is everything that adventure science fiction should be, it uses ideas from the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories cleverly, there is not need to know the stories to enjoy the action, knowing them does add to the pleasure. Arvid Nelson uses ideas from pirate stories in a smart fashion, mixing them up with science fiction in a very enjoyable way without loosing or diluting the essential parts of either genre. Happily he realizes the outstanding value of a competent and committed villain who can drive the action forward in a natural and effective way. The mix of motives is very well done as the major players each bring something a little different to the adventure and the tension between allies and enemies is held tight and works very effectively.
Carlos Rafael's art is lovely, it is bold and dramatic when it needs to be, the splash pages are full of enjoyable detail and the action scenes are excellent. There is slight problem with Dejah Thoris' facial expressions, she appears to be somewhat surprised all the time. Of course it may be that she is simply embarrassed at the appalling costume she has been given, a thong and tear shaped nipple covers, in particular when worn under a cloak  with a fur trimmed hood in an ice cave would make anyone feel more than a bit surprised. Phondrai has the more standard female lack of costume, however even hers is still considerably better than Dejah's.
Carlos Lopez understands that bold, bright colours are the correct choice for a big bold science fiction adventure story. The colours add greatly to the story, they bring the world of Mars to life, and give sharp focus and depth to the art. Marshall Dillon's letters are a a quiet pleasure, they add to the character and his sound effects are great.
A very well thought out story, lovely art, and a great cast make the comic well worth reading wardrobe
malfunctions not withstanding.

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