So much of 90’s fandom was absolutely ruled by XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. I’m certainly not saying that the mythology-fueled camp program was to everyone’s sensibilities, but I thought Robert Tapert marshaled his creative forces and that of his various players quite nicely. For my humble tastes, the show always had the right mix of skin, sin, and scenery. Certainly it did wonders for the career of Lucy Lawless, and it reminded men everywhere just how powerful a woman can be … provided that she’s given the proper attributes, acrobatics, and accreditation.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
DEJAH THORIS #2 opens up only moments after its first issue ended. Our warrior princess of Barsoom has been locked away in a curiously phallic-looking tower while her father and grandfather are tightly locked away in dungeons far below. Yorn is taking steps to secure his very own weapon of mass destruction he’s had excavated from beneath his castle. And Prince Valian – noble, impressionable, and chunky Prince Valian – comes to the realization that his evil father has been reading his homework, for it was Valian who not only knew where the buried monuments had been secreted away but also what a threat they could be to the peaceful people of Mars.
Perfunctorily, scribe Arvid Nelson steamrolls his tale of royal intrigue onward, still with very little attention to fleshing out these characters any more than their humble skivvies and nipple covers will allow. The emphasis here remains on action – now that the armies of Helium have been captured, a new green menace rises on the horizon, and it won’t be long before they’ve delivered a reckoning unto the house of Yorn. To be fair, Valian does begin to come into his own rights as a man – readers learn a bit more about his past and how the lessons he’s learned have shaped him and his values; because he knows all too well what’s in store should his father engage some ancient evil, he throws caution to the wind and rescues Thoris … who rather conveniently straddles the man to the ground.
Oh, the horror!
Developments progress, and it does appear as if the tide is starting to turn against Yorn’s favor … but, as tends to happens in the world of comic books (even the less cheesy ones), readers are left with yet another cliffhanger that compels them to tune in again in 30 days.
Unfortunately, the artwork and colors by Carlos Rafael and Carlos Lopez (respectively) still don’t rise to any appreciable level. It’s clear that they’ve created a stock of warriors not unlike any measureable barbarians, but they’re intent (for the time being, it looks) on sticking with strong, clean lines and relatively generic Saturday morning animation blandness. They pack more curves onto Thoris than any woman deserves – living or animated – so I suspect they’ve sacrificed innovation in favor of currying the young man’s collective libido.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it …
WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #2 [Ongoing] is published by Dynamite Entertainment. The story is written by Arvid Nelson; the artwork is drawn by Carlos Rafael; with coloring provided by Carlos Lopez; and the lettering is done by Marshall Dillon.
RECOMMENDED. It’s hard to find much fault with WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #2, but that doesn’t necessarily say much. This is old-school adventure – the type of which made famous nearly a century ago in Saturday morning motion picture serials. On that level, Barsoom has probably never looked better. But Dejah? I’m worried she’s gonna catch cold once the Martian weather turns! What’s a scantily-clad princess to do?
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that I’ve repeatedly contacted the fine folks at Dynamite Comics in hopes to arrange for reader copies of WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS; however, the company apparently does not recognize nor cooperate with requests from new media outlets.
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