Dejah Thoris #1 Review - John Carter of Mars for Dummies
Truth be told I'm a very shallow reader and will readily admit I picked up Dejah Thoris #1 because the cover was absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful cover aside, this is my first time actually consuming any material set within the John Carter of Mars Landscape. Every concept presented in the comic is foreign to me aside from seeing the character occasionally in pinups.
The story does very little to fill in the blanks and due to the presentation of the comic, I felt that I was jumping into the middle of a story arc. Due to the lack of any recap, the story here is locked off from the highest marks in this review. What I can say is that the comic is solid and that if you do have prior knowledge of the characters or setting that you may get more out of this book.
My opinion may change as the series develops but I'm currently in wait and see territory. The comic opens with a brief rundown of Dejah's basic characteristics. She is a Wife, Mother, Princess of Mars, Scientist and Warrior. She's on a dying world of Barsoom investigating why the situation has accelerated.
There is an opening action sequence in which she takes down a snow creature. She is joined by Kantos Kan, a masterless Warrior that pledged to protect her a bit too late.
They leave the planet and seek an audience with Jeddak, Lord of Helium. She is granted permission to investigate whether the situation on Barsoom is being accelerated by overproduction by the factories there. She leaves with Kanto's not knowing that political forces are in play seeking her death.
The comic is interesting but I feel that newcomers may feel alienated by the story. The environmental angle of the story is a bit too topical but it works well enough. The character also has a lot more depth than the pin-up art floating around would suggest.
Dejah is well established but most of the political intrigue went over my head because it's really hard to do significant worldbuilding in 22 pages. Imagine jumping into the middle of Game of Thrones season 8 with no prior knowledge of the characters or setting. That would be pretty hard for new viewers.
The art from Vasco Georgiev is solid. We get a variety of scenes ranging from frigid worlds to Throne room's and industrial complexes. The landscapes are also sufficiently detailed and are a credit to the overall art direction for the issue.
It's too early to tell where the series will go from here. I just wish that the book did more establishment. Ironically, I just reviewed Jonathan Hickman's Decorum #1 and he has the opposite problem in his story. A House of X style X infographic would have been great here.