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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Marvel Comics - John Carter Warlord of Mars #1


I am not much of a comic reader, at least not the superhero variety, so I was pleasantly surprised by this start to a Barsoom series. They have chosen to tell stories in the nine year period that A Princess of Mars does not cover at the end of the first novel. This issue does relate the beginning of the novel as a flashback sequence and it adheres admirably well to Burroughs with some odd choices of what to add or what to cut. I have no idea why they would have John Carter wear his confederate uniform in the retelling, but I do understand why they cut the version of his flight from the Apache warriors and change his version of his mystical transmutation to Mars to save space.

The plot is fairly simple, the art well done and the action much more deadly than I had thought they might have had in a 70's mainstream comicbook. This is just the introduction to the rest of the serial which will continue in further issues so not much should be expected but the writing is not well thought-out or particularly skillful even in its structure.

There is much to be harvested here for a Barsoom campaign. The scenario for a game could start in the actions that occur before the beginning of this story, the kidnapping of a wife, friend, companion. Strikes against the Atmosphere Generators that keep Barsoom alive. A hunt after clues, an attack by a tribe of Green Martians, a traitor Red Martian, there is a ton of material here perfect for inspiring a campaign.

As a graphic story it is filled with illustrations that can be used to show players for key moments in a game. No matter if the story is crap or the ideas so poor that they are unusable, graphic art is always an incredible source for inspiration as well as illustration and the work here by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum is respectable even if Dejah Thoris isn't showing quite as much skin as lovingly detailed as she is in the more current Barsoom series of comics.

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