Originally Reviewed at: Mother/Gamer/Writer(This was reviewed in conjunction with the movie. Visit the site to see full review of both)
Rating: 5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Never having read the original John Cater series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, I don't really have anything to base my review of the movie and graphic on other than my overall opinion of the finished product. With that being said, I must admit I absolutely adored both! John Carter is not your typical superhero; in fact he is nothing more than an ordinary bad mouthing, gun slinging ex-cavalry officer in the Confederate Army with a short temper who just happens to end up on Mars. He's a tad bit arrogant, very compassionate, and just can't seem to stay out of a fight. All of these qualities combined make John Carter one tough Science Fiction character not to love.
The story begins in 1866 at the close of the Civil War in a small frontier establishment in Arizona. In the graphic novel, John is accompanied by John K. Powell; however in the movie he meets Powell with his fist shortly after arriving in Arizona, literally. The circumstance in which John Carter ends up on Mars, or Barsoom, are slightly different in both the graphic novel and movie. I won't go into too much detail about how he mysteriously arrives on the planet, but Carter tends to get himself into a mega amount of trouble.
Diving into the graphic novel first, Warlord of Mars Volume 1 embodies everything I love about comics and graphic novels. It's full of action, has beautifully illustrated artwork, and an over the top storyline. Volume 1 consists of 266 pages, 170 or so being the actual story and the rest is artwork (at least in my review version from NetGalley). There are 9 Issues from the Warlord Series, and each explains the complicated story of John Carter on Mars and how he became infamous. The legend of John Carter is EPIC. And by epic I mean there is plenty of fighting, ruthless killings, Barsoomian creatures, futuristic cities and machinery, a scantily clad man, and one well endowed woman to rev even the tiniest sci-fi nerds engines.
Once I started reading I couldn't strip my eyes from the pages. They were super glued, to every frame, every creature, and every battle. I loved meeting all of the major characters, Tars Tarkas, Princess Dejah Thoris, Sola, and a little green monster dog named Woola who was so slimy and cute I couldn't help but smile at her overzealous behavior. What I liked most about Warlord of Mars was the back story. While the movie failed to give us history and depth to our characters, the graphic novel excelled at delivering the who, what, when, where and why certain things where happening. Though the storylines were different, it was still nice to get a sense of who our characters were and what made them into the people they are today.
Overall, the story of John Carter and his victories around Mars are told brilliantly in this graphic novel. I highly, highly, highly, (and in case you didn't hear me) HIGHLY, recommend Warlord of Mars Volume 1 to all Science Fiction/Fantasy/Adventure lovers. And due to the extreme graphic nature of this comic, please read responsibly and keep it over 18.