Dejah Thoris’ journey of self discovery continues, albeit with a slave-ish supplication followed by rebel themed application.
Marooned in the caves of Barsoom, our Princess on the run is faced with a difficult situation, become a mind warped digger or serve the Issus Queen of her own accord? This being Dejah, she sets out to carve her own path, in another issue that seems to be a filler, at least in momentum, to the main story of her lost identity. As an aside to the main story, this issue was potentially a chance to develop some of her army comrades. Instead we get a brief conversation and its back to what she does best.
Frank Barbiere is plotting and conspiring. The book has an easy feel to the story that somehow detracts from the impassioned version of Dejah we saw in the first couple of issues. It’s as if she has become accustomed to her life and is in fact paying lip service to her quest. This probably stems from what feels like a two issue detour for very little gain. Still, the dialogue is of the high standard fans will have come to expect from Barbiere, even if there is still not a great deal of back story around the leader of the coup. I hope that his story isn’t told in exposition style.
The art in this book remains the biggest pull. I have spoken previously about the influences that are on show in Francesco Manna’s work and again they are in full display here and when combined with exquisite colors from Morgan Hickman and Valentina Pint, the world of Barsoom comes to life. Manna’s line work is fantastically smooth, his panel layouts add to the storytelling, with the use of different angles giving an air of dynamism to what is, for a large part a talking head-piece. Whilst we are talking about the art, there is yet another gloriously painted cover from Nen Chang.
Overall, despite the quality that is abundant on every page, there is a sense of feet being dragged, of story compression to fill out the issue count, which in turn is starting to erode some of the good will and excitement that I felt at the start of the run. I, am of course not going to let one issue dissuade me from keeping an eye on this book, but I would appreciate a return to the urgency of the Dejah’s trek.
Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
Cover – 5 Stars
STORY BY Frank J. Barbiere
ART BY Francesco Manna
COVER BY NEN
PUBLISHER Dynamite Entertainment