Review: Lords Of Mars #1
An epic crossover event starring the two greatest heroes of pulp fiction begins this June! The legendary Ape-Man has claimed his title as Lord of Greystoke, but his very life is threatened when a hunting excursion with his fellow “gentlemen” goes disastrously wrong. Meanwhile, on Mars, John Carter is forced to respond to a veiled threat from his defeated enemies. Mars and Earth might be separated by millions of miles, but a sinister force is at work on both planets, setting the two champions on a deadly collision course. It all starts with Lords of Mars #1: The Hunting Party. Set phasers for “mayhem”!
Dynamite’s crossover with the two legendary characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs kicks off today. Lords of Mars #1 brings together Tarzan and John Carter. The story is written by Arvid Nelson with art by Roberto Castro. Alex Guimaraes provides colors and Marshall Dillon handles lettering. So is Lords of Mars worthy of its title, or should it be demoted?
The majority of the story focuses on Jane and Tarzan, who has claimed his title as Lord Greystoke and his ancestral home in England. After a successful hunt for a buck, Tarzan returns to the manor and is greeted by Jane. The two are interrupted by the butler who tells the couple they have been invited to a hunting party by Lord Marchmain. Tarzan accepts. He and Jane quickly find themselves in an awkward situation as Tarzan has trouble handling a gun. The men of the party mainly want to have fun at the expense of the beast man. Things get even worse when a poacher is caught in a man trap on Lord Marchmain’s property. The men think up ways to deal with the man, but Tarzan and his strong sense of morality won’t let them mistreat the man. Tarzan and Jane find themselves on the run as things start to look a little conspiratorial. On Mars John Carter is leading a campaign to rid the Red Planet of the white apes. The Holy Therns beg to have an audience with Carter because the white apes are holy in their religion. John Carter must ponder over these developments and figure out what his next move will be.
Ardin writes an interesting story. The first issue of a six part crossover is devoted almost entirely to Tarzan. John Carter’s campaign on mars gets a total of 4 pages that feel like they were thrown in just to make sure the man of Mars got included. There’s a little bit of a hint about how the two men will cross paths, but no overt steps are taken. As of now there is no real reason for the two icons to cross paths other than happenstance. A big crossover such as this really has to have a big explosive moment to pull readers in. There isn’t really one with this series unless you’re just a fan of the two literary icons. Castro does a great job with the art. He presents some impressive scenes in the English countryside and some nice spaceships on mars. We don’t really see much of the Red Planet. You have to give a big credit to Guimaraes’ colors. He makes the English countryside scenes absolutely stunning.
Bottom Line: Lords of Mars has a lot of potential and it’s a pretty good story. With a big crossover of two such icons, you expect a little more punch to it. There are five issues left and things move pretty slowly, so hopefully things kick into high gear next month. Tarzan appears to be the star of the show so hopefully we get a few more Carter-centric scenes later on. This is a story with a great concept, a lot of potential, but the first issue doesn’t quite ignite. 2.5/5