Mind Capsules – Dejah Thoris #1 and Uncanny X-Men #3

Dejah Thoris #1
Dejah Thoris #1

Writer – Frank J. Barbiere
Artist – Francesco Manna
Colours – Morgan Hickman
Letters – Erica Schultz

As a part of their quest to reinvigorate their female heroes, Dynamite enlisted Frank J. Barbiere and Francesco Manna to begin a new tale for Dejah Thoris and they do so with a story we have never seen before. There has always been intrigue within the walls of the palace and Dejah and John Carter have always been able to deal with whatever comes their way, but this time it may be just a bit much. Dejah’s father, the Jed of all Helium has disappeared and the worst is feared. Soon Dejah takes the throne yet a councillor named Valoris seems to have plans of his own and Dejah is arrested for treason and possible regicide. Barbiere has crafted a suspenseful tale that finds the princess of Helium on the run, searching for the truth about her past and how it might relate to the events currently taking place. Everything about her is in doubt thanks to Valoris and that leaves John Carter within the city to fight for his beloved while she fights elsewhere. Dejah is pictured as headstrong and a woman of deep convictions in this book, something that has remained constant throughout every series no matter who was at the helm and Barbiere does the same for John Carter, keeping his personality in line with all that has come before. There is no sign of Tars Tarkas or Woola or any of the other supporting characters at the moment, though that could change in time so for now, Dejah and John fight alone. For a Dynamite title, the artwork by Manna is quite good and nice to see the company pushing their latest initiative with artists that can actually draw. Too many times has Dynamite enlisted artists that fail to capture the attention that the characters they publish deserve and thankfully, that has not happened here. So with a new villain and direction for our heroine, it looks to be the perfect opportunity for those who have never picked up a book featuring the classic Burrough’s property to do so. Definitely a very good start.

3.5 out of 5

Uncanny X-Men #3
Uncanny X-Men #3

Writer – Cullen Bunn
Artist – Greg Land
Inker – Jay Leisten
Colours – Nolan Woodward
Letters – VC’s Joe Caramagna

The X-Men, specifically Psylocke and Magneto, have come to protect the next name on the list that the Dark Riders have targeted – the mutant healer known as Triage. Like many mutants of late it seems, he wants nothing to do with them, yet if Triage fails to go with the X-Men then there is a good chance that he will fail to see another day. Unlike their previous encounter, Psylocke and Magneto are prepared for the Riders and this meeting turns out to be much different than the first. While that is going on, M is off to see Xorn, who has hidden himself away from the world and who has no wish to enter it again even should his life be at risk. Triage and Xorn are not the only mutants that Cullen Bunn reintroduces to the book, but Fantomex as well who is looking into those mutants who have decided to go into suspended animation in the hopes of waking one day to a better world. Things are slowly ramping up under Bunn’s direction with new information about the Dark Riders and their purpose, not to mention taking a trip back to Genosha where Magneto reveals a further failure on his part to protect those in his charge. The book continues to read at a very fast pace, a blessing in some cases, though in this particular one it always seems like you are not getting the usual amount of story pages as other books, even though you are. It is to Bunn’s credit that he has not been wasting our time with unneeded exposition or wasted moments, though you do wish sometimes there was just a little more to it all. Greg Land’s artwork is as good as ever and in conjunction with Nolan Woodward’s colours, the book looks amazing though it could be a little more fluid at times with less ‘posing for the camera’. For now, the mystery of why the Dark Riders are doing what they are doing, the conundrum of Archangel and the still unsolved solution to Magneto’s power problems keeps the book interesting enough to keep coming back.

3.5 out of 5

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