Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review of John Carter: A Princess of Mars, issue 2.

I was very much impressed with the way Roger Langridge and Filipe Andrade set the scene in their inaugural issue of John Carter: A Princess of Mars, so when the 2nd issue popped up to buy on my Marvel Android app, I didn’t hesitate to make Disney & Google a little richer by adding it to my collection. But damn, it’s just too easy to click a few buttons and a few dollars at a time seems so insubstantial, but this could turn into a costly habit, especially as Langridge and Andrade show no sign of dropping the ball. My only irritation is that the John Carter comics are not available to view on a desktop login, which is plain perverse and hard on the eyes to boot as for now I’m limited to viewing the comics on my phone. How hard can it be to make the same digital files cross platform compatible? Fix this please Marvel.

Ok, so when we last we saw him, John Carter was confronting the double whammy that he was not the only human-like person on Mars, and even more jaw dropping, his first contact is with a definite hottie. It’s a case of love at first sight; that’s love I must emphasise, not lust, because John Carter is first and foremost a Southern gentleman and is keen to pledge his loyalty to the beautiful princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris. Only first he has to convince the sceptical princess that he’s not an ignorant off-world rube and actually knows what he’s doing, not easy when he’s still trying to come to terms with his inexplicable transference to Mars and is surrounded by the fearsome Thark hoards.

Once again we are treated to a superb Skottie Young cover, this time of a shackled but defiant Dejah Thoris, before we launch into a quick recap of the situation, but it’s not long before Carter is in the thick of the action again, leaping to the defence of Dejah Thoris in another brilliant signature splash page from the assured pen of Filipe Andrade. But good as Andrade is, I think it’s fair to say that equal credit again needs to go to Sunny Gho. His colours are a match made in heaven with the art of Andrade. Words like opulent and sumptuous spring to mind to describe the amazing primary colours of Mars, and when combined with the dynamic pencils of Andrade you are in for a treat. The standout page for me this issue is when Carter wakes to discover the Thark hoards assembling their caravan train beneath a Martian dawn. Simply breathtaking, and you can’t help but share the sense of wonder with Carter.

If I had a gripe, it’s that Carter’s dialogue strays too far into modern vernacular in this issue. I’m getting a little tired of the need to update dialogue because it’s hip to make ancient dudes sound like they’ve wandered off the set of Beverly Hills 90210 – what started this? Xena Warrior Princess, was it you? It’s really getting a bit tired and I think John Carter would have worked better as a character if this was dialled down a bit. It’s a minor complaint though. I’m not going to let it bother me too much and if it makes John Carter more accessible to a younger generation, then that can’t be such a bad thing. Roll on issue 3.