Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #2
Written by Robert Place Napton
Illustrated by Roberto Castro
Colored by Alex Guimaraes
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Covers by Joe Jusko, Francesco Francavilla
Release Date: August 31, 2011
Cover Price: $3.99
“100,000 years before John Carter first arrived on Mars…” I present to you Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #2. The atmosphere is depleted and the only way for the races of Mars to survive is to artificially create a new one. Of course, it would be easier if they weren’t constantly trying to kill one another.
I have to say this has to be the most unfriendly read I have had in a long while. Between the lack of a lead-in and the overabundance of storylines, I was thrown into a mess of a comic. I quoted the entire printed premise at the beginning of this review, by the way. Given that I was very familiar with the the original books, I felt I would be able to catch up quickly and obtain some semblance of the plot. I was mistaken.
The scientists of the White Martians are attempting to build new generators to create a new atmosphere, the Red Martians are minimally mentioned in this issue but they were apparently attacked by Green Martians, leaving only Anouk alive and enslaved until rescued by Tak Nan Lee. A lot of discussions revolve around the atmosphere but there are obvious subplots left unrevealed. I can only hope that Robert Place Napton has a plan to bring some order to the chaos that is this series.
On the other hand, the art of Roberto Castro and crew is beautiful and highly detailed when needed. I can only say that I love the art, it brought beauty that I wasn’t expecting in this comic. The battle in the second half of this issue was epic both in scale and in presentation. It was, by far, my favorite part of this issue. The blending of medieval-styled weapons and modern war machines was very well represented, made almost believable by the artist.
All in all, I would say this is an easy purchase if you like the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books, but an easy pass if you have no connection to them. I’m pretty sure I can wait until it hits graphic novel form, and even then it’s still a maybe. As much as I disliked the presentation of the story, I want to see more of the art. I’ll be on the lookout for more of Castro’s work in the future, as this was my first exposure to him. I hope that the series straightens out as I enjoyed the novels and would like to see more derivative work based on them. As for this comic, take it or leave it… I won’t be pushing it on anyone.