Dejah Thoris #4 – Review
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Cover: Nen Chang
Art: Francesco Manna
The people of Barsoom may be in more danger than they know. I can’t help but wonder if our princess-turned-soldier, Larka, will able to do some good before the damage is done.
Last time we saw our elite squad, they were fighting Warhoons and protecting a girl (if she had a name, it escapes me). However, that girl turned out to be a traitor and actually in control of the Warhoons with the aid of a magic stone. The squad is defeated and must work as slaves for our little “red witch until Larka figures out a plan of escape. Meanwhile, John Carter is slowly but steadily slipping through the fingers of Valoris and his corrupt henchman. Seems like we have a new enemy rising. The Cult of Issus is coming, and Helium is one of their stops. You’d never guess who’s with them. If you’ve guess our little witch girl and a certain evil count, then give yourself a clap on the back.
Francesco Manna and his artwork may be one of the banes of my existence. A lot of it is really good, but some of it really turns me off. Some of the inking in this book really needs to turn down a few notches. When you have blacks covering 80% of a character’s face or body, you might wanna hold back. For instance, there is a panel of Valoris and a soldier face to face in the same bright open room. The soldier’s face is perfectly clear, but a lot of Valoris’s face is in shadow. I’m sure it was done to make him look more sinister, but it looked out of place and a bit unnecessary. We have some kind of Rob Liefeld-ing going on in a few panels. There’s nothing hiding the feet. They just fade out. Also, some of the loosely drawn art bothers me, but I guess its something I can get over. I do like the way Manna handles action and facial expressions.
Ever met a selfish hero? Well let me introduce you to Dejah Thoris. She may be strong, independent, and smart, but she is a part of a team. To bad it doesn’t seem like she thinks that way. I like what Frank Barbiere has done with the character for the most part. She’s not weak and hanging on to John Carter’s leg. However, I can’t help but feel like she is the “strong female character” stereotype gone wrong. Dejah Thoris is stubborn, doesn’t always think things through, and doesn’t listen to reason. Instead, she would rather do what she thinks best, which hasn’t been so goo for her or her team mates. Its a bit annoying and I want to see Barbiere give Dejah a little attitude adjustment. To end on a good note, I find Dejah’s definition of justice absolutely barbaric. In a good way.
Villains are an interesting thing. Every good hero has a good villain. Valoris seems like an decent villain. He’s cunning, levelheaded from what I’ve seem, and who doesn’t like a good taking over the world story? However, it is hard to gauge the people’s reaction to him. No cheers. No booing. Just a crowd of blank faces at the moment. I’m sure he will have his way through either persuasion or force. He’ll be a force to be reckoned with if and when Dejah returns as our mighty hero. I want to say that I don’t expect John Carter to stay off panel and under house arrest, but I am hoping that he won’t steal Dejah’s shine. It is her book, but it could happen unfortunately. Let’s all think positive thoughts and maybe it won’t happen.
Dejah Thoris isn’t a bad book. Dejah Thoris isn’t a bad character. A bit stubborn, but aren’t we all. Maybe all this will come back to bite Dejah later on. Maybe it’ll come back to bit me later on. The only way to find out is to keep going, and that it what I intend to do.