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John Carter Of Mars: The Jesse Marsh Years (2010)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

John Carter Of Mars: The Jesse Marsh Years (2010) This hardcover book from Dark Horse reprints the comic from 1952-53, which adapts Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter to comics form. Instead of him fighting in the Civil War, it's the Korean war. He takes cover in a cave and then finds his spirit transported to Mars. He comes to this realization because of the smaller sun and the two moons in the sky. And he's a lot stronger, able to take tremendous leaps in the lighter gravity. The first beings he encounters are the barbaric green four-armed Tharks, which are depicted somewhat frog-like. Carter becomes friends with one of them, Sola, who answers his questions. When a flying craft crash lands he goes to investigate and sees it's a man, like himself. Dejah Thoris, a princess, was aboard and the dying man tells John Carter that she must not get into the hands of the Tharks. So he ends up rescuing her and gets her to safety. Soon after this, on his travels across the martian landscape, he comes across a strange building which turns out to be an atmosphere factory. Then it's on through the city of Zodanga, where he finds out Dejah Thoris is to marry the ruler there, though it's against her will. So he must rescue her again...

In the second tale, THE BLACK PIRATES OF THE OMEAN, it's been ten long years since Carter has been on Mars. He finds himself in the Valley Dor, where people go at the end of their lives. Here the weird looking plant men prey on people. He encounters Tars Tarkas, who explains to him that princess Dejah Thoris and her father had been searching for him for that past decade. He and Tarkas are imprisoned by the Therns, a pale skinned people, fight some lion-like Banths, rescue a woman named Thuvia from slavery, and then fight The Black Pirates.

After Carter rescues Dejah Thoris from the Black Pirates they head to the far North, where they are shot down by another flying ship. They survive but are knocked unconscious and the princess is again taken prisoner while Carter and Tarkas are left to die, eaten by carnivorous plants. Of course, they escape and then set to rescue the woman and encounter the ferocious carnivorous Apt in the ice mountains.

I found this book entertaining, though I think the best comics adaptation is Marvel's WARLORD OF MARS from the 80's.

written by Paul S. Newman

Illustrated by Jesse Marsh

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