Review: Lords Of Mars #3
At long last, the Lord of the Jungle and the Warlord of Mars meet… head on! A furious battle turns into a desperate two-man stand against the evil forces that have manipulated the ape-man into hating John Carter. No one, not even pulp fiction’s greatest heroes can stand against a hundred of the terrible white apes of Mars. Fortunately, our adventures have a secret weapon: their wives!
The crossover event uniting John Carter and Tarzan, two of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ greatest characters, continues this week. Lords of Mars #3 is written by Arvid Nelson with art by Roberto Castro. Alex Guimaraes handles colors with Marshall Dillon providing lettering. How does the halfway point of the series hold up?
Tarzan and Jane are adjusting to life on Mars. They have found themselves in the Valley Dor, the home of John Carter’s rivals the Therns. The Therns have been manipulating Tarzan and filling his head with lies about John Carter being a great evil. Tarzan, ever the innocent, takes the Therns for their word. Jane is a little more skeptical. The couple’s differing opinions causes some tension in their relationship. John Carter is heading out to Valley Dor to try and find his missing ambassador. His wife isn’t pleased with his decision, but she knows he has to since it part of his role as a ruler. Jane finds something to occupy her time, but Tarzan is pulled deeper and deeper into the Therns plans. With John Carter arriving shortly, will Tarzan be ready for blood when the ship’s doors open? Will Tarzan be fooled into harming an innocent man?
Nelson writes an interesting issue. This is still largely a story developing Tarzan, Jane, and their fish out of water experiences on Mars. They’re adjusting to life and learning who they can and cannot trust. The Therns are painting John Carter out to be a monster, and Nelson plays into that some by not giving Carter any screen time as it were. Once again he is relegated to 2 pages. It would work if we didn’t already known so much about John Carter and how the Therns are the real bad guys. John Carter just feels extremely unutilized in the series so far. With so much build up, the last three issues need to be a huge battle between Tarzan and John Carter, then the Tarzan/John Carter team-up to fight the Therns we can pretty well guess is coming. Castro’s art is solid. There are a few instances where Jane’s face isn’t as consistent as other panels and she’s looking through the sites of a gun in an odd way, but overall there is solid character work and some visually appealing creatures and backgrounds. Guimaraes’ colors are very bright and vivid. They fit well with the alien world of Mars.
Bottom Line: The solicitations are slightly misleading as we’re still waiting for John Carter and Tarzan to cross paths, or for John Carter to really do anything, but the story does have some great ideas behind it. The series feels like it’s building itself as if it was an ongoing series, but there’s only 3 issues left. The buildup is good and very consistent with Burroughs’ stories, but hopefully the wheels start turning a little faster next month. 3.5/5