Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Vol. 5 – Rise of the Machine Men

Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Vol. 5 – Rise of the Machine Men
Warlord of Mars Dejah Thoris V5 Rise of the Machine Men review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dynamite Entertainment - 978-1-60690-490-9
  • Volume No.: 5
  • Release date: 2014
  • UPC: 9781606904909
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

After a volume away, Dejah Thoris is now back at home, her mortification forgotten, and she’s ready to avenge the death of a childhood friend, murdered by Mortus, leader of a new Assassin’s Guild on Barsoom. Thankfully, Robert Place Napton considers his audience, so this doesn’t involve Dejah using her warrior’s skills to sort things out, but instead first posing as a pouting, chained slave, then later as a prostitute. Strangely, both masquerades involve her wearing slightly more clothing than usual.

The Vampire Men of Saturn featured less than accomplished art, so readers that noticed will surely welcome Carlos Rafael’s return. He supplies equally exploitative illustration, but with a better eye for designing a page, recognisably human figures with some weight and depth to them and more than the single expression. Whatever the deficiencies of Place’s plot, at least the scenery, the action, and the important near naked women are drawn with some style. Anyone missing Debora Carita’s weightless figures, strange bodies and men dressed as if auditioning for Masters of the Universe will be delighted at a her return for a rescue mission. Thankfully, she only draws the first half, with Rafael back for the second.

Ignore the lapses of logic prompting the plot and Place has put more thought into his title story than either of his previous two Dejah Thoris graphic novels. Not prioritising having the near naked Dejah on every single page allows him to add some narrative depth by following other characters, and the return of someone last seen in Colossus of Mars is a genuine surprise in the pulp tradition. His second story is more standard fantasy, but does again surprise, if not very logically. Still, no one buys this series for the logic, and Rafael supplies what they do want very elegantly. Phantoms of Time follows. Alternatively both are collected in the second Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris Omnibus.