So long as DEJAH THORIS remains in its present format – that being delivering action and glitz and glamor with ceaseless abandon – then I suspect, as a regular title, it’ll find its audience and keep it. Why wouldn’t it? Here with its third issue scribe Nelson clearly has settled with a formula – boobs + fighting + deaths + more boobs = “winning” – and, as I’m often wont to say, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Dynamite has set the expectation; they’ve whet the appetite; and now they’ve delivering on the promise. However, should the Martian princess suddenly rise up and deliver a soliloquy about how all this ending of life is culturally bad for the planet, only then will readers know that someone higher up has called for a course adjustment.
In the meantime, roll up your sleeves … turn off your brain … and get set for another chapter in the ongoing serial!
(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 …)
The stone creation that secretly resided in the catacombs beneath Yorn’s castle finally received what it wanted: Yorn’s unbridled rage. For as soon as the leader showed it such emotion, tentacles emerged and pulled him deep inside. Fueled by his anger, it becomes the Colossus of Yorn, rising up from the depths in the ground, and it turns its mighty powers against the green army that is the Great Horde of the North.
As we learn, Yorn definitely has a mean streak. In previous issues, we’d basically been treated to the lighter touches of his dark side. He set up the opposing armies of Helium. He saw them imprisoned. He took Dejah Thoris, first, as a ruse to marry his son, but then – when the jig was up – he had her tossed into a tower for only God knows what nefarious activity? Now – as he’s merged with a diabolical weapon – he begins preaching from Hitler’s book of mass genocide, ordering his many men to obliterate the green army and, when they’re done, slaughter their women and children! When it looks as if he’s about to turn on his son, Valian, thankfully he suffers some kind of psychological or physical trauma; he emerges briefly from the chest of the creature to ask everyone what’s happening to him!
Sadly, it looks like either scribe Nelson doesn’t yet know what it is he wants to happen to Yorn or else he doesn’t want his readers to know. The moment of torture ends with Yorn’s question, and the action shifts to Dejah and the men of Helium now heading for sanctuary. When the Colossus of Yorn is shown ravaging cities of the North in the issue’s final panel, there’s not a hint of any trauma. Did Nelson forget? Did Yorn forget? Methinks we may never know … unless we’re here again in 30 days!
One last thing: Prince Valian also takes a curious turn in characterization. Nelson went to great lengths to make readers sympathetic toward the young man – Valian was displayed as little more than a pawn to his evil father, and he’s even been roughed up by Yorn’s palace toughies. Still, the chunky man has always stood up for what those in the audience would think was proper – he stood up against his father’s tyranny, he stood up for Dejah’s honor, he spoke loudly against what campaign of deeds his father had embarked on. However, in this issue, as soon as he’s confronted by Yorn about letting Dejah go, he quickly adopts a “who me?” attitude, and that development seems decidedly incongruous with every character moment that’s come before.
Maybe – like dear ol’ dad – he’s losing his mind, too.
Or maybe it was just lazy writing.
WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #3 [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. Somehow, Nelson and his crew managed to rile up the action a bit further than he’d already established with the previous two episodes in WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #3, and that’s never a disservice to a budding readership. However, I can’t help but wonder if they sacrificed quality control in favor of some clever imagery as there’s a clear kinda/sorta continuity break within one action sequence and then (not many panels later) Yorn’s “what’s happening to me?” moment is completely dropped without any explanation. Given the fact that a few pages later, the Colossus is back in action, I can only guess Yorn wasn’t all that concerned with the fact that the behemoth seemed to be seizing control of his mind.
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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