“Book Two: When Hell Broke Loose”
Well, it does turn out that this is a five-issue miniseries rather than an ongoing. It's probably for the best. I'm not sure the demand is really there for three ongoing series set on Edgar Rice Burroughs' world of Barsoom – especially since in the coming months there are also going to be series appearing from Marvel Comics in conjunction with the movie coming next year from parent company Disney in conjunction with Pixar. I'm not getting those, however.
How is it that two different companies are publishing comics based on the same licensed material? As I understand it, the first five of the Barsoom novels are in public domain because they were published prior to 1923, so anyone can publish them or derivative works based on the setting, characters, and ideas that appeared in them.
This second book telling the story of the latter days of the transformation of Barsoom into the nearly dead world known to John Carter a hundred thousand years later begins with the Orovar scientist Tak Nan Lee's desperate efforts to create large-scale atmosphere manufacture failing yet again. He has brought the injured red woman to the Atmosphere Plant near Korad since the climax of the first issue; she has now awakened and they get off to a bit of a rocky beginning. Meanwhile, Orovar General Van Tun Bor leads his men in a desperate defence of Thark against an attacking horde of green men to give the people of Thark a chance to escape to Horz – where it seems they will not be welcomed. The Jeddak of Horz refuses to send more help to escort the refugees, then he consults with a really creepy looking and seemingly cannibalistic mad scientist figure about some experiment that is nearing completion. The Jeddak also orders the Atmosphere Plant to be secured against the greens' attack – which seems likely as Van Tun Bor's army has been routed, the general himself stabbed through from behind by a giant green warrior. “To be continued.”
Another good issue, although a bit scattered. That's kind of the nature of the middle parts of a multipart story, though.
Getting my comics by mail as I do gives me no control over which of the various covers I get, which can be a bit annoying. Pretty much following the odds I usually get whatever the main cover is – but in this case not. Instead I got the one-in-ten Francesco Francavilla “pulpy” cover – which I like in and of itself, don't get me wrong, but I would have preferred to get the Joe Jusko cover that stylistically matched my first issue. Oh well. I do appreciate Dynamite's practice, at least for the Warlord of Mars series, of illustrating all the variants and incentive covers inside the back cover. Note: As far as I can tell, only the Jusko cover tells the reader the individual title of this part, “When Hell Broke Loose.”