Posted - May 29, 2013 | Updated: August 17, 2015

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Warlord of Mars Dejah Thoris

If Dynamite wanted to make a great impression with their first Warlord of Mars Dejah Thoris story arc they made the right move by choosing "Colossus of Mars". The story arc encompasses the first five issues of the comic and it has everything. Drama, action, romance - you name it. It also fittingly serves as a great introductory story arc since it features the Martian political structure, racial mix, customs and social dynamics as the tale progresses. This is definitely a ride that you won't regret. Let's go . . .

So, as a bit of a backgrounder: The Martians stop getting older once they reach adulthood and do not die unless slain. They're effectively immortal. This explains the period setting of the adventures in this collection - a full four hundred or so years before the arrival of the Earthman John Carter. Dejah Thoris, and her peers, don't age, think about that. It's an amazing piece of information that only makes the fantastic setting even more enjoyable.

Our story starts with a war between the twin cities of Greater Helium and Lesser Helium.

war between greater and lesser helium

Deja Thoris is from Lesser Helium.

Just at the crucial moment when Lesser Helium is about to win the war, the attack is interrupted by this guy

the yorn emissary

Visually I'm a bit surprised, pleasantly surprised. This personage is an emissary from the Jeddak (chieftain or ruler) of Yorn. He's not very fit, up until this time everybody looked unbelievably buff. Making this guy anything but was a good call. Giving everybody the body of a god introduces boring uniformity. Anyway we now know that both Greater and Lesser Helium are vassal states of Yorn. And we also know that the Jeddak of Yorn will not allow one side to win over the other - he has interests in seeing both eternally fighting each other. He's a stinking despot that's what he is.

Being a king, the Jeddak has ordered the marriage of his son, Valian, and Deja Thoris. When asked by her family if she wanted this marriage we get these panels.

dejah thoris contemplates marriage as duty

It's all there, body language, subtle statement. It speaks volumes. This is a great subtle panel from writer Arvid Nelson and artist Carlos Rafael.

So the presentation of the bride and groom arrives and we finally see the Jeddak of Yorn.

the jeddak of yorn

Excellent facial expression. I can see intelligence, charisma, arrogance and cruelty. This is a powerful rendition. And here comes his son Valian.

valian of yorn

Looks like a nice guy, a tad clumsy though.

Later on, we find out that this wedding is a sham But before that, there's this nice panel that I want to show you. So a banquet is held and Dejah Thoris toasts the cities of Helium and the coming peace. The Jeddak of Yorn, bastard that he is, stops the nonsense to say that he is taking over. But before that, Valian, his son, is about to join the toast. Look at this panel were the Jeddak signals to his son to stop joining the farce.

the jeddak prevents valian from joining the toast

No dialogue between the two but we know exactly what is happening. Brilliant. We also know tht Valian had nothing to do with this travesty.

valian protests his innocence

More than that, his father has totally no love for his studious and chubby son.

the jeddak of yorn hits his son, valian

And here we have the reason for every move the Jeddak has made.

the colossus under lesser helium

The giant, the Colossus, is an ancient war machine that lies under Lesser Helium and is irresistable to the power mad Jeddak of Yorn.

Soon, matters are complicated by the arrival of a third force - the green Martians.

green martians attack helium

We also learn that the secret location of the Colossus was deciphered by Valian. Inept Valian who now attempts the not so inept rescue of Dejah Thoris. Rewarded with a kiss.

dejah thoris gives valian a kiss

Valian gives Dejah a clever weapon.

valian gives dejah thoris a special sword

Double blade sword with cannon in the middle. How cool is that?

Jedah is freed just in time. Jedah Thoris' father and grandfather are about to be tortured.

dejah thoris arrives to free her father and grandfather from the torture chamber

With the green Martians attacking, the Jeddak of Yorn gets desperate about how to activate the Colossus. Soon enough the Jeddak is swallowed by the war machine.

the jeddak of yorn is absorbed into the colossus

And the Colossus comes to life.

A power mad ruler now commands irresistible power. Here is the Colossus hounding his foes - the other Jeddaks of Mars.

the colossus attacks the martian jeddaks

I love the distinctive word balloons used when the Colossus speaks - you just know its an otherwordly sound.

The original Colossus was the Colossus of Rhodes. A huge statue stradling a port in the ancient world. The scope and size is certainly evoked by this panel

the colossus of mars in action

A resistance forms against the Jeddak of Yorn and Valian joins in

valian invents while dejah thoris and company surround him

Valian uses his smarts to create some wondrous devices First, something to temporartily disable the Colossus.

a device to render the colossus vulnerable - for a time

Then a pair of wings that will allow Dejah Thoris to come in close for the kill.

dejah thoris uses the wings that valian gave her

Once again, the Colossus in action.

the colossus of mars unlishes his deadly breath

And here, Dejah Thoris, going in for the kill.

dejah thoris on the attack

See the Jeddak in the chest area?

Unfortunately, the brilliant Valian also perishes.

All in all, a wonderful first arc for this great new series.

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