Review: John Carter Warlord of Mars #2

Written by Guest Contributor: Jason DiGioia

Coming off my high from JCWM #1, I was bracing myself for a letdown, the crash of a mediocre second issue. Praise be to Marz that the only crashing I felt while reading this wonderful second book was that of a four-armed white ape barrel-assing through the pages.

The Martian city of Helium has been seized by Joshua Clark, a Civil War captain who is holding a bit of a grudge for John Carter. We aren’t sure what their falling out was just yet, but it has got to be something big if Clark and his lethal looking Kahori pals are waging an all out war. Speaking of lethal, enter Joshua Clark: he’s pretty keen on hanging out shirtless in the sieged palace, running Martians through with his cutlass whenever he feels like it. He’s also pretty keen on threatening Mrs. John Carter herself, Princess Dejah Thoris. Although Clark is a cool villain, if I had one complaint with this issue, it’s that I wanted to see just a little more development concerning Clark and Carter’s past. Pacing-wise, things are a touch slow for my taste. I’m not saying I wanted the whole backstory in this issue, but something more than knowing they’ve met before in battle would have made me happy.

JCWoM02-Cov-A-BenesOn the other hand, Ron Marz has really started to flesh out John Carter the man in this issue. JC’s not a ruthless soldier, nor is he some pushover; there’s a balance to this guy, a mix of honor and heart that I really like. This month we see him fighting his way out of several huge jams. His goal is simple: fight his way back to Helium and rescue his ridiculously huge-chested wife (and probably the rest of the Mars-folk, too).

One of those huge jams is a sprint from an enraged white ape in the opening pages. In what’s becoming typical JC fashion, he outwits the beast, saves a Kahori enemy whom he can use strategically later on, and even spares the white ape in a show of mercy.  This act of benevolence comes with a warning, a double-cross-me-and-you’re-dead sort of warning. JC is merciful in a couple other spots as well. He warns himself about the potential mistake he’s making, and he also hears it from his four-armed green buddy, Tars Tarkas. Although in this issue JC’s mercy for the ape paid off, it will be interesting to see if his other decisions come back to haunt him.

With Abhishek Malsuni’s great artwork (especially that ape), non-stop action, and good character development, issue #2 is a definite buy. Hopefully issue #3 will start giving me the answers I want about Clark and Carter’s history. I can’t wait to see Carter show this fool no mercy.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Ron Marz Artist: Abhishek Malsuni Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/10/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital