Dejah Thoris #2
Frank J. Barbiere (writer), Francesco Manna (art), NEN (cover)
Dynamite Comics, March 2, 2016
Disclaimer: A review copy of this publication was provided by the publisher.
This review reminded me that Dejah Thoris has a long way to go to break out of the risque (to say the least) depictions of her in the past. A search for “Dejah Thoris #2 Dynamite” took me to this page, but this is the new Dejah Thoris #2 that we’re talking about.
Previously, the Princess of Mars escaped into exile following the disappearance of her father and the accusation that she was not who she seemed to be. Her royal lineage is in question and she must find the truth in order to regain her throne. The story takes Dejah—now calling herself Larka—on a cursory walk through her kingdom of Helium where she realizes that, although she would give her life for her people, she has no idea who they are or how many of them live. She spends much of this time trying to gain information, promising large sums of money without anyone questioning that or recognizing her face now that she’s wrapped in a cloak and reasonably more clothed than her normal princess jewels and gold finials. But she is recognized by one woman who, conveniently, has just what Dejah needs to reconnect with the memories of her past that have been dislodged just by someone telling her she’s not really of royal blood. I excused the convenient plot leaps in the previous issue to allow the story to progress to its next phase, but it seems there are a few more to go before we’re on our way to join the People’s Army of Barsoom, where Dejah conveniently discovers her answers might be.
After a brief trek across the desert, Dejah, in monologues that seem to be the norm, laments how little she truly knows about her world and her people. Upon arrival at the army camp, Dejah and the peasants that accompanied her are given new attire.
We have been told that Dejah’s new outfit reflects the People’s Army’s aesthetics, but it turns out that was just a shallow excuse to give her something new to wear. Don’t get me wrong–I like the new outfit, though I question the practicality of the sheer crotch drapery in a rough and tumble army setting, and her bare belly and legs are going to be a problem in battle. But standing here among her fully dressed compatriots calls the rationale for her attire into question. But then, she appears to be the only woman on the team, so I guess they could spare her the fancy, skimpy stuff. At least she gets a helmet and NEN is just workin’ that new outfit on the covers of each issue.
And through all this, no one recognizes their princess…
I’ll let that slide for the sake of watching Dejah get her warrior on and prove herself worthy of a position as a soldier.
We really have not learned much about Dejah since the first issue. We already know she can fight and of course know she’s going to earn her place, and we know she is ignorant of her people’s lives—because she keeps telling us this. Overall, a disappointingly predictable issue, but hopefully, now that we have fully established her motivations and her goals, we can see some real progress in the rest of the series.