“Pain like that knows no distance of time and space,” John Carter says, and he is right.
Warlord of Mars #35 brings to a close one of the most adventurous, one of the most personal, and one of the most painful storylines writer Arvid Nelson has spun in this great SF tapestry.
It all started issues ago with the seeming return of Deja Thoris’ grandsire and the abdication of power by Carter. Right away, even fast for comic book time, things began to smell like three-day-old fish. Suddenly, all the fence-mending and diplomacy Carter had done was for naught as Mars began to bubble with racial strife and tension.
Nelson has taken a very personal tact in this story, as seen through mainly the eyes of Dejah Thoris, who must choose between tradition and marriage, husband and grandfather, red and white. The fact that she did accompany John Carter in his escape as she defied the villain posing as her grandfather said volumes. And as once happened in Frank Miller’s Daredevil, our hero is suddenly depending less on those friendly ties of today and more on the villains of yesteryear to see him through the falsehood and siege.
In #35’s bombastic yet emotionally quiet conclusion to the tale, our Warlord toddles into a trap just waiting to spring. What is he thinking? But there is method to his seeming madness as a secret – and weakness – is revealed that just might save Barsoom … and the family of John Carter.
I will not brag on how lush or detailed the art of Raphael Lanhellas is, because it is not. But it does dramatically carry forward Nelson’s brilliant script and is dramatic enough to produce some pulse-pounding panel arrangements that left my jaw swinging. It is not Turok, but it is good storytelling, enhanced by the colors of Inlight Studios.
This has been a wonderful tale of survival, and above all family. The ending justifies all the adventure and steps taken toward that conclusion in a story well told.