Son of Merlin #1 took me immediately back to the late 1990s when Matt Hawkins launched his Lady Pendragon universe for Image. That’s basically what this is, just updated for current times.
First off, Robert Place Napton was a great choice for writer for this series. He’s got the experience doing this kind of book, and that helps a lot. What I liked about this comic is that it’s Merlin and Morgan in modern times. They’re not pulled through a portal and are now fish out of water; instead, they’ve been living continuously from ancient times right up until now. And, from the looks of things, they’ve been fighting a war since they first became enemies. Now, this book IS called The Son of Merlin, so obviously, the son of Merlin actually comes into play in this issue. As much fun as I had with this book, Merlin’s son turns out to be the fish out of water in this book. It’s the typical “I’m a man of science, I don’t believe in magic” that we’re seen in a lot of comics before this, so I hope that future issues steer away from that.
Thun’Da #1 Written by Robert Place Napton
Art by Cliff Richards
Colored by Esther Sanz
Letters by Marshall Dillion
Cover by Jae Lee
Thun’Da Created by Frank Frazetta Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
I have to admit, I don’t know anything about the main character of this book, and I’m guessing, neither do you. But, that’s a GOOD THING. Because Thun’Da #1 is ALL intro, and believe me, it’s one heck of a ride.
Writer Robert Place Napton does a really good job here of writing this first issue as almost a silent issue, but there’s a purpose for that, unlike so many comics that are just trying to copy the infamous GI Joe #21. First, we’re introduced to our hero under extreme circumstances. VERY extreme. From there, it only gets worse. It’s safe to say that he’s thrust into a world that even he doesn’t believe exists. Someplace where he’s got to survive on barely his wits alone. What’s even more entertaining is that he has no memory of who he is, where he’s from, or what he can do. So, he’s basically coming at this whole story from the audience’s point of view, which is really refreshing. I found this comic to be a very fun read.
One of my favorite independent comic publishers in recent years has been Dynamite Entertainment. They have not disappointed me with any of their titles, so I decided to check out Warriors of Mars #1 to see what it was about.
The story is about a man from Earth named Gullivar Jones who is an officer in the Navy from New York City. Jones, wishing that he didn’t have to live in the corrupt world he lives in, is transported to Mars. When he first arrives he meets local townsman from the city of Seth who then tell him to meet the king. While meeting the king, the city comes under attack in which the king’s daughter falls into a canal of water and Jones rescues her winning favor with the king.
I’m usually not a big fan of spin-off books, but I was pleasantly surprised by this comic. Set 100,000 years before John Carter arrives on Mars, Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #3 is actually an interesting story about the history of the planet Mars and its inhabitants.
A lot of spin-off or tie-ins tell the stories set 1 day or 5 minutes before the beginning of the movie, or you’re stuck with between the scenes stuff, where you already know the outcome of the story and immediately think “Wait, why am I reading this again?” But writer Robert Place Napton does a nice job of telling a tale that is very independent from the story of John Carter that we’ve all read before. This is legitimately a fun, exciting story on its own, just set in the John Carter “universe.”
Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #2 Written by Robert Place Napton
Illustrated by Roberto Castro
Colored by Alex Guimaraes
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Covers by Joe Jusko, Francesco Francavilla
Release Date: August 31, 2011
Cover Price: $3.99
“100,000 years before John Carter first arrived on Mars…” I present to you Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom #2. The atmosphere is depleted and the only way for the races of Mars to survive is to artificially create a new one. Of course, it would be easier if they weren’t constantly trying to kill one another.
I have to say this has to be the most unfriendly read I have had in a long while. Between the lack of a lead-in and the overabundance of storylines, I was thrown into a mess of a comic. I quoted the entire printed premise at the beginning of this review, by the way. Given that I was very familiar with the the original books, I felt I would be able to catch up quickly and obtain some semblance of the plot. I was mistaken.