Reviews, commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the Dynamite Entertainment comics that were released during June that I received at the beginning of July.
The Shadow #3
“The Fires of Creation, Part Three” [ previous issue ]
This story seems to center around some mineral that can be used to power a death ray. The Shadow continues to play an important role in his Lamont Cranston identity, in which he continues to have philosophical conversations with Margo Lane, but to leave a wake of blood in his Shadow identity. I'm pretty sure he didn't have the power to interrogate a dead man in the old pulps; was that an ability in the radio show?
Lord of the Jungle #5
“5: Lost Treasure” [ previous issue ]
Tarzan saves Lt. D'Arnot in a sequence that is quite a bit different from the book, partly because the cannibalistic antagonists are so different. William Clayton and the French sailors arrive on the scene shortly thereafter and massacre the tribe – in the book didn't they simply find the village abandoned? Jane – and Esmeralda – perceive that Tarzan is baby Greystoke, an idea that William will not entertain, and although they convince their rescuers to wait for a time, ultimately they must leave with the French. Tarzan was delayed in coming back to the treehouse cabin by his need to provide constant care for D'Arnot, who once he comes out of his delirium teaches his rescuer to speak French. They finally do make their way to the cabin. The incident where D'Arnot accidentally almost kills Tarzan is omitted, but D'Arnot does present him with the note from Jane, inspiring Tarzan to make his way to America. They head out through the jungle, making their way toward civilization. The scene of the bet with the thug by which they secure funds for their passage to Europe remains intact, although I was thinking it occurred in Libreville rather than “St. Eustache.”
Lord of the Jungle Annual #1
This is an apocryphal tale that takes place immediately after the events of the regular series, issue #8, which as you can see is some time away. Since I would be surprised if the adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes can be stretched out more than one more issue in the main series, I'm presuming issues #7 and 8 must be some other interlude-type story, because I interpret this story to lead directly into the events of The Return of Tarzan, which I also figure will begin as a Dynamite adaptation in issue #9.
Tarzan is back in Africa, where he is captured by a fight promoter and brought back to New York City. There he is forced to prize fight. Eventually he is helped to escape by the promoter's patroness – not out of any sense of humanity but because … “Well, violence gets me … It, ah, well, excites me. What you did to Starker was just what we call 'The Bee's Knees.' And that alligator – mmm!” Ah, the wonders of civilization! In any case, she books him passage back across the Atlantic as “Monsieur Jean Tarzan” and assures him that no one will bother him – because “I own the ship.”
Warlord of Mars #18
“The Gods of Mars, Part 6! Through Flood and Flame” [ previous issue ]
Dynamite finishes out its adaptation of the second Mars novel in fine style, although still this adaptation has felt more rushed than did its version of A Princess of Mars. I am really liking the art here, especially the depiction of John Carter. Next, we go not right into book three, the novel entitled Warlord of Mars, but rather another apocryphal tale, going back to the threat against the Atmosphere Plant that motivated the interlude of issues #10-12.
Warriors of Mars #3 (of 5)
[ previous issue ]
It turns out Gullivar's magic carpet is also a time machine. He was in the distant past when he first arrived on Barsoom – given the life-span of Barsoomians, perhaps over a thousand years. I hadn't thought about it previously, but it should have been obvious, given he was a 19th-c. American who appeared on Barsoom some time before Dejah Thoris was born, which – in Dynamite's apocryphal time-line – was at least four hundred years ago. Now, we find that the carpet also protected him after the fire at the end of the previous issue all the way to the present, which is stated to be “many years after John Carter's return to Mars.” In any case, he doesn't make a very good impression on the Confederate veteran, but when Dejah Thoris ends up captured by the Thither People, who have not been seen out of their region of Barsoom in a long time, the two Jasoomians set out together to find and rescue her.
Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars #3 (of 4)
[ previous issue ]
Dejah Thoris tries to telepathically warn off Carthoris' airship – a nod to the oft-forgotten telepathic abilities of the Barsoomians that I like – but he gets only a fleeting impression of someone calling him. His mother turns back on her white ape pursuer, armors herself with bones of the apes' previous prey, and manages to kill it! And eats...! She then wages her own campaign of terror against its fellows by flinging its head into their midst. She manages to lure them to fall to their deaths, all but an old scarred bull-ape – and laughs maniacally in its face! I kid you not. As my old drunken mentor used to ask, “Could I possibly be making this up?”
Anyway, we are left on that note with the promise, “Next Issue: It Ends!” Thank Issus!
And, on that note, Cheers, and Thanks for reading!