This “Official Prequel” to the Disney John Carter movie collects the four issues of the Marvel comic John Carter: World of Mars. It is only indirectly rooted in the Burroughs stories; it is very faithful to the Disney screenplay and visual designs. In a frame story narrated by John Carter (who is thus only pictured in cover art and the opening pages of issue #1, along with the final panel of #4) this book provides back-stories for Tars Tarkas, Dejah Thoris, and Sab Than — the last of whom is presented as even more of a sociopath and tyrant than in the movie. Peter David’s story works pretty well, and the Luke Ross art is effective enough. Anyone who liked the movie (I did) should be able to enjoy this little graphic novel.
The book is padded out at the end with some design sketches and the complete typescript draft of the first issue, effectively appending “roughs” from both the artist and the writer. I find design sketches an interesting addition to a volume like this, but the script just seems like an indulgent waste of paper that added nothing to the final content.
Since the book is really fixed in the movie continuity, it actually doesn’t connect very smoothly with the other Marvel title John Carter: A Princess of Mars, which is more of an adaptation of the Burroughs book, albeit with some anticipation of the Disney treatment.