John Carter: A Princess of Mars TPB
Title: A Princess of Mars
Based on the Works of: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Writer: Roger Langridge
Art: Filipe Andrade
Letters: Cory Petit
Colors: Sunny Gho, Arif Prianto, Benny Maulana & Sotocolor
Cover Art: Filipe Andrade & Skottie Young
Editor: Mark D. Beazley, Jennifer Grunwald, Jeff Youngquist
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In recent months, I’ve become quite a fan of all things related to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter character, so I decided to take a chance on the Marvel Comics adaptation of the first book in the series, A Princess of Mars. Despite being scripted by the great Roger Langridge with covers by the equally great Skottie Young, this collection of the series was, in fact, just okay for me.
Strictly taking it as an adaptation, it does its job. It tells the story of John Carter, ex-Confederate soldier who is mysteriously whisked away to the planet Mars and forced to struggle for his life. That struggle doesn’t really gain meaning other than survival until he meets the lovely Martian Princess Dejah Thoris, and his new world begins to become a home.
Langridge does a decent job with the adaptation, but there are some strange choices in here. Carter, for example, has a tendency to speak in more modern slang and contemporary dialogue than feels appropriate for the character, particularly having read the novels just a few weeks ago. The way the ending is condensed feels off as well – it’s actually similar to the movie, cutting down the time Carter spends on Barsoom drastically, and with less of a purpose than before. Some of the changes are easier to accept – the way Carter figures out where he is, and the almost too-cute combination to the atmosphere plant.
Filipe Andrade’s art is, similarly, okay. It tells the story, but feels a bit too blocky, too angular, and not quite as smooth or energetic as one would hope for this property. It probably doesn’t help that it’s compared here to Skottie Young’s covers – he’s one of the great fantasy artists of the day and the interior work just doesn’t live up to the stuff he does in his five cover sketches.
It’s okay, and I wouldn’t mind reading the other Barsoom novels adapted by this team, but it’s not the knockout that the Oz adaptations have been.