Story: Leah Moore
Art: Francesco Manna
What They Say:
Irene Adler has been many things in her young life, a fugitive, a master of disguise and a femme fatale, but even she is surprised to find herself made bounty hunter, tracking savage foes across the grimy streets of London. In a far off world, defending Barsoom against an influx of trespassers, Princess Dejah Thoris is ready to put the guilty to her sword. Now, the world-colliding events of SWORDS OF SORROW have brought these dangerous women together… and the fate of planets hang in the balance!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Taking place after the first Swords of Sorrow installment, the first issue of this three part series is one that takes us to an interesting place, one less known by me so it adds a little more interest. Though I have a passing familiarity with both the John Carter and Sherlock Holmes worlds, they’re not ones I’ve invested in for a variety of reasons. So bringing the two of them together here and working the timeline for it so that it feels similar enough definitely works well for both characters. Like other first issues in this miniseries approach, we get a decent bit of introduction as to who is who, though that’s more so for Irene Adler than for Dejah Thoris. And it actually feels like it works better that way, so I can’t complain too much.
Dejah’s arc here has her focusing on her feelings towards things after the events of the first Swords of Sorrow issue where we saw the loss of Tars Tarkas, and her encounter with the statute and Red Sonja. That she’s wary and cautious makes sense since there’s so much unknown. But what we see is her curiosity later in the book getting the better of her, which has her investigating a supposed new assassin that has popped into the world. While that encounter has it’s moments, what makes it fun to watch is the end result, which is her getting tossed to Earth, circa 1894, in her usual Barsoom garb and no inkling of what happened. Though she’s familiar with some of the constructs based on what Carter had likely told her before, the fish out of water element is powerful in this series.
For me, I’m rather glad that most of the book focuses on Irene Adler, a friend of sorts to Sherlock Holmes. I’m not overly familiar with the character, but she definitely fits the bill of a strong woman working within a man’s world at the time with a truly special skill set as a fighter and undercover agent. She’s initially helping Holmes out a bit by investigating an incident at Parliament with a creature attacking (and devouring) the Prime Minister, which is being foisted off as a rogue lion that got loose. Holmes knows the truth is something more, and the glimpse we get of it is definitely otherworldly. So she’s putting her skills to use to track it down and figure out what’s going on. It serves well to introduce her world, her place in it and some of her abilities while pushing her towards that eventual meeting with Dejah Thoris on Barsoom, which is certainly going to be even more unsettling for her as she realizes the truth of it.
As an opening installment for this particular pairing, the book works well with its main focus on that of Irene Adler. Through her pages, we get a decent understanding of the character in the basic sense while also getting to hear her particular voice and approach to problems. Her time with Dejah Thoris isn’t comical, but it has the right kind of light tone to it as she survives the attack and uses her words more than anything else to shift things in a different direction. With both of them having recently acquired the Swords, we get to see how each of them is handling it and their particular approach. We also get to see the beginning of what should be a pretty fun adventure for Dejah now that she’s gone through the looking glass as well. It’s a solidly put together book that moves quickly, gets the foundations laid out in the characters and begins the adventure in a fun way.
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 17th, 2015