Friday, October 12

Dynamite Comics – Nov 2012

Reviews, commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the Dynamite Entertainment comics that were released during September that I received at the beginning of October. Caution: Spoilers ahead.

Art by John Cassaday
The Shadow #5
The Fire of Creation, Part Five” [ link to previous issue ]

Well, I was wrong last month about which boat exploded! Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane, and the useless Limey are left hoofing it. Nevertheless, they catch up with Kondo and Wong at a village where Wong is basically scamming the Japanese into thinking they're mining the weapons mineral. The Shadow does a lot more of the supernatural stuff to wipe out the bad guys, ultimately including Wong. Kondo discovers that he was deceived, but he swore to the Emperor that he would bring the mineral back. So he prepares to show his aide a lesson in Japanese honor. Along the way there are plenty of graphic depictions of the outlaws and Japanese and atrocities against the Chinese peasants.

Art by Alex Ross
The Shadow Annual #1
Children of the Dragon”

This is a standalone tale of great evil in the form of childlike innocent come from the Far East to US, which the Shadow must destroy. This Annual solidifies Dynamite's take on the character as a supernatural figure, an agent of fate, with mystical dreams and powers. Perhaps – I suspect that – this owes far more to the radio Shadow than to the pulp magazines' more human crime fighter. I'm not sure I'm going to stick with this title, at least in monthly issues.

By the way, isn't Margo Lane a blonde in the main series?

Art by Lucio Parrillo
Warlord of Mars #21
The Shadow of the Temple, Part 1 of 5” [ link to previous issue ]

Wow! This is a gorgeous cover by Lucio Parrillo. I could do without the fresh clawmarks on her thigh, but I can easily see that face as “The Most Beautiful Woman of Two Worlds.” I don't know about butterflies, but insects do exist on Barsoom, according to John Flint Roy's A Guide to Barsoom: “Barsoom harbors a wide range of insects – from dainty, beautiful creatures that move silently from flower to flower, to giants with a wingspread well over thirty feet” (Kindle edition at 53%, location 1298 of 2425). I'm not sure if the title given above is of just this issue, or properly part one of a multipart story by the above title. Effectively, it seems to be part one of Dynamite's adaptation of ERB's third novel in the Mars series, The Warlord of Mars. It actually tracks closely with the novel, which I would not really have expected. Rather, I was expecting to see an expansion of how John Carter got to the point where the narrative drops us right in to him eavesdropping on Matai Shang and Thurid.

Art by Fabiano Neves
Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #15
[“The Exile of Dejah Thoris,” Part 1] [ link to previous issue ]

On the journey undertaken after her traumatic possession by the Boora Witch, which she herself seems undecided between being penitential or punitive in nature, Dejah Thoris is dozing on a boat on the River Iss when she hears a child's scream as it is taken by one of the giant, insectoid bumblebee-like siths in the Kaolian Forest. The route of the River Iss is quite mysterious, as is its relation to the Kaolian Forest – also difficult to place from the information given across the Mars series by ERB – as discussed by Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr. on the online ERBzine Vol. 3386. The princess of Helium takes flight, thanks to the flight pack she still possesses from the first story arc, and saves the child, who leads her through the Forest to the city of Kaol, where she ends up helping the Kaolians defeat a growing infestation of siths. After which she moves on. So this looks to be a multipart grand tour of Barsoom, which could be interesting.

Once again, as seems to be by and large the case for covers to Dynamite's comics, the image by Fabiano Neves has absolutely nothing to do with the story inside. Once again, it's basically a pin-up, this time with a bondage theme that would actually be appropriate for the story contained in the next issue....

Art by Fabiano Neves
Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #16
[“The Exile of Dejah Thoris,” Part 2]

Three months into her self-imposed exile, Dejah Thoris has wandered from the equatorial region where Kaol is located up into the barren north. There, on the ice (and as scantily clad as ever, just like in the southern ices 'way back in “Pirate Queen” – oh, pardon me, she has a tiny little fur parka!), she is attacked by one of the gargantuan, savage, white-furred apts. A yellow man – an Okarian of remote Barsoomian legend, comes to her rescue … then promptly declares her his slave, imprisoning her in what looks for all the world like a frontier ranch cabin from the US Old West. She does manage to escape. The Okarian gives chase. They end up fighting each others and apts in the Carrion Caves which John Carter will himself pass through four centuries later in the novel The Warlord of Mars. Ultimately, however, she is more chivalrous than he in that she saves his life from a pride (?) of apts, winning her freedom as the Okarian grudgingly points out that he would not have done the same for her. Almost as soon as she emerges from the Carrion Caves, however, she is overshadowed by a vaguely bat-winged air ship, and we are left this month with a teaser title: “Next: The Vampire Men of Saturn” – !?

Cheers! … and Thanks for reading!

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