Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter #5 (Dynamite, November 2021)

Fen of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs have been able to enjoy quite a number of ERB-related comic book series and titles thanks to Dynamite Entertainment in recent years. The recent DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER series that publishing company's penchant for tie-in series that build on and expand ERB's writing. DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER #5 (Dynamite, November 2021) is no exception. Written by skilled tie-in scribe Dan Abnett and drawn by Alessandro Miracolo, the series pairs Carter and Thoris rather than positions them against each other. The issue opens with a bang, "sociopathic mastermind" Rotak Gall conferring with "primordial entities from outside time known as the Longhorn" via ancient arcanotech. The two-page spread featuring the sheer scale of the Longborn reminded this reader of Jack Kirby character design, even if not artwork. The gist of the story is that the Longhorn seek to colonize Barsoom and are manipulating Gall, an expert in cloning, to procure host bodies. Meanwhile, Carter and Thoris are searching for Gall in his palace -- a veritable maze in time, with each chamber located in a different age of the locale -- to obtain the key needed to get out. They encounter what might be a Tyrannosaurus Rex, portrayed on a delightful full page, as Gall embodies the Longhorn in two of his standard clone bodies, which begin to decay more quickly than expected, rather than Carter's hardier body (due to his superhuman genetics). Carter and Thoris battle the dinosaur over the course of several pages before encountering a new clone of Gall, who wants vengeance after his betrayal at the hands of the Longborn. Carter presses the attack to the Longborn, and the issue ends with him realizing that he, himself has also been cloned -- setting up the events of the next edition. Abnett's writing doesn't quite capture the tenor and tone of ERB's original stories, but that's not the point here: Continued adventures of much-loved characters. Miracolo's artwork is well done, and the issue is worth getting for the two-page spread of the Longborn in their original form, as well as the dinosaur. This issue of DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER also includes house ads for Dynamite's VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: UNHOLY, EVIL ERNIE, and SHEENA: QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE series, giving the reader a sense of what else the publisher has in the works. Recommended for ERB fans.

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