Monday, March 26, 2012

John Carter: The Gods of Mars #1 (of 5)

As I mentioned in a recent review, I'm a big fan of the film John Carter.

It would make a great basis for a series of movies - but since it got hammered by the critics (I'm baffled as to why), moviegoers are staying away from it, and it looks like Disney will be taking a bath on it (although international sales are quite strong).

Marvel created its own authorized adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' first John Carter novel, A Princess of Mars. It was a fair adaptation, although I have to admit that I didn't really care for the art - it didn't seem like a good fit.

Since we're not likely to see a sequel, it's nice that Marvel has gone ahead with its adaptation of the second novel, The Gods of Mars (many elements from this book were incorporated into the film).

Once again, the story is fine. We really just get enough here to get the ball rolling, as Carter returns to Mars, only to find himself fighting for his life, and taken captive by a strange warlike race.

The art, while much better than the last effort, still doesn't work for me. The problem is that I'm a traditionalist when it comes to this kind of comic, and I'd much prefer to see a more classic style, along the lines of Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum, who all gave this series such a great look during their brief runs on the comics based on Carter.

Ramon Perez is a fine artist, but his style is a bit too frenetic and disjointed for me. Your mileage may vary.

It would be nice to see all 11 of the John Carter books adapted, but I suspect the film will drag down any such plans.

But I'll continue to hope for more of both (movie and comics).

Grade: B


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