Comic Book Review: Dejah Thoris #0
I was excited to see that there was going to be another Dejah Thoris story out there, even if it is just this #0 issue. I read one before that was released a few years ago, and I enjoyed it for being friendly towards someone who knows little of Dejah’s world or even that of the John Carter stories that she is a part of. This issue gives the impression that they are willing to do more of the same by telling an untold story of the Red Martian princess.
When you’re still fairly green to a story like this, the exploration means everything which makes this being untold special. It made a big difference to see how rich and lush Mars used to be versus what it is now. I mean what I remember seeing before was still beautiful in structure, but you would have never guessed that this planet was able to once hold so much life. That alone made sense of why Dejah would set off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet.
In turn, we also got to know Dejah a little better through the lengths she is willing to go to save her planet. Dejah is the Princess of Helium, yet what makes her so unique is the way she carries herself as one. Personally I love when you have a character like her and she goes against the stereotype. The last story I read of her, she set out on a mission to figure out her past, and that led to one awesome action scene after the next where she proved that she was as formidable as they come. Here in this untold story we get to bare witness to a side of Dejah that is daring enough to go out and find a spark of life. This might also be because she is younger in this story, but regardless she is someone willing to risk it all just to do what she thinks is right. Especially when it comes to figuring out the way that she wants to rule in contrast to her grandfather and father.
Now Dejah’s encounter with this mysterious Green Martian prisoner was the highlight of the issue when it really does not go as she planned for it. This is a period of naivety for Dejah, and that comes with trial and effort for the things she is willing to do to save her planet. There’s much we don’t know about this Green Martian and that is a good mystery to keep moving forward. You want to know what he wants, what he did to be a prisoner in the first place. Many things that Dejah clearly didn’t take into account when she first encounters it.
The art team of Pasquale Qualano and Valentina Pinto was perfect for a book like this. If there’s one thing I love about her world, it is how elegant their creatures are, their wardrobes, and the scenery that is convincing of a once lively world. The wardrobe I particularly appreciated because Dejah Thoris is one of those characters who would dress very revealing back then. It is appreciated that with these new stories they can take more liberties to dress her in attire that is more befitting of her role as a princess, and at the same time be able to change it up. The creatures of course look alien having a range of both beautiful and terrifying, though all the same creative in design. That aside, the quality of the work was excellent from the clean pencils to details in anatomy. Nothing bothers a reader more than characters who aren’t drawn to realistic proportions. They don’t have to look picture perfect, but satisfying which is where the characters meet in this issue. The color work from Valentina Pinto was stunning. With a book like this you want someone who has command of warm colors, and she captures this through the skin tone of the Red Martians, the intensity of the bright sky, and the warm hue that overtakes the structures around. One can say that a planet is dying, but it also takes the use of the right colors to bring that idea to life.
I don’t know a thing about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ beloved book “A Princess of Mars”, but Dejah Thoris #0 felt like motivation to look up what that book is to better get to know this character. She’s fierce and she is compassionate for someone who just may save her planet or cause more trouble simply trying. If there is something actually following this #0 issue, then they nailed the motivation to pick it up.