It’s Dejah Thoris from Barsoom, and John Carter from the planet Earth, together again! But their reunion is short-lived… The Longborn, an ancient and mysterious race of immortal “gods” have arrived to reclaim what the planet Mars! Can Dejah and Carter’s love hold through a planet-sized war?
Dejah Thoris Vs John Carter of Mars #1 seemingly picks up after the Winters End story. Dejah has her husband and son back, but she is still dealing with new threats to her kingdom and her people. Consolidating power by bringing together different tribes and factions under her banner has turned Dejah into a warrior queen, but now that John has returned he’s grappling with Dejah’s new warrior queen status, the guilt he feels of being used against her, and above all else the sudden realization he may not be needed.
I have to say that this story is all very relatable. John has returned home and he can see that time has moved on without him. He always saw himself as sort of a heroic “fish out of water” adventurer. But now, he’s just the fish out of water. There is some serious self-reflection and doubt going on within him. On the other hand, Dejah has become just the opposite. It’s a clear role reversal with some deeper implications to the direction of their relationship going forward.
Writer Dan Abnett takes a different story-telling path with this tale as compared to Winter’s End. You will notice there are no thought boxes or inner monologue in the captions. Instead, that sort of exposition has been replaced by third party narration giving brief explanations. I felt this helped keep the story the main focus. When you aren’t reading the characters thoughts, it leaves a real sense of wonder as you speculate what the characters are thinking or going to do next. I actually think this gives the issue its strength in terms of writing. The artwork by Alessandro Miracolo and colorist Dearbhla Kelly is good, but a few times the facial art varies a bit. It’s really only noticeable when the characters have a portrait panel or full body panel. Other than the occasionally inconsistent faces, overall the artwork is still very good.
I like that the tables have turned with Dejah being the action hero and John hanging around the palace in this new run. It feels like Abnett is setting up some very interesting character arcs and balancing the action and character development evenly between John and Dejah. So along with solid action, there’s some actual personality in the leads, and really good art to convey this. It’s a recommendation from me. I think there’s something in this for everyone here.
If you’d like to buy it and you can do so here or check your local comic shop this week.