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Posted by: Byron Brewer

Advanced Review: Warlord of Mars #34

Writer: 
Arvid Nelson
Art: 
Rafael Lanhellas
Colors: 
Inlight Studios
Letterer: 
Marshall Dillon
Cover: 
Joe Jusko
Publisher: 
Dynamite Entertainment
Price: 
$3.99
Release Date: 
March 5, 2014

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Writer Arvid Nelson continues his sword and sorcery mystery of the return of the ruler of Mars, placing both Warlord John Carter and the future of the Red Planet in jeopardy.

At first believed to be who he appeared to be, John Carter and Deja Thoris have discovered her “grandfather” is actually the long-missing Xerius, leader of the Orovars of long ago. Finding life in a seed pod from the Tree of Life, a legend which is credited for giving rise to all life on Mars, Xerius took Carter's power as warlord ... and almost his life!

Xerius has kidnapped and is torturing his “grandson,” Carthoris, using the lad’s psychic emanations to lure Carter and Deja Thoris out of hiding. But Carter is determined to discover Xerius’ secret and, with the aid of an old ally, looks deep into the mind of history, into the “Mind of Issus.”

Nelson gives us a rare peek into the psychic powers of John Carter in this issue, as he delves into the brain of a dead person to discover the reasoning behind the rise of Xerius to power and how he came to be in the seed pod, returning to today’s world. Not only is this a great review of Carter’s Barsoom history but actually important to the back story as a whole.

Artist Rafael Lanhellas brings Nelson’s script to life with vivid scenery and alien landscapes. His panel arrangements and facial expressions, even on aliens, convey the drama and levity of this complex book. We even feel sorry for Xerius for a moment. And oh, poor Carthoris!

Warlord of Mars remains a dependable monthly sampling of great sci-fi, racial strife and strong character. What else could a reader want?

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