‘Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond #1’ - Comic Book Review

When it comes to the sword and planet genre, Edgar Rice Burroughs was certainly the genre progenitor with his Barsoom series of books starring John Carter. Maybe not as renowned as the Barsoom books, but just as beloved, is Burroughs’ other sword and planet line, the Venus series with Carson Napier. This series of books imagines Venus (long before the Soviet Venera probes exposed the planet as a hot, harsh, and unforgiving place) as a oceanic planet, much like Earth. While the Venus series of books concluded decades ago, Napier’s adventures continue in other media, with American Mythology’s comic series, Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond being the newest story arc.

Written by Christopher Paul Carey (author of Swords Against the Moon Men), The Flames Beyond takes place after the last Venus book, The Wizard of Venus. The first issue of this three-issue miniseries begins with Napier, along with his betroved Duare and companions Nalte and Ero Shan, flying in their Venusian airplane before being shot down by a flock of winged folk called the Angans. Napier and company are captured, erroneously believed to be the culprits of an attack on the Angans’ city; however, during the exchange of accusations, Napier and the city are strafed by the true aggressor, the scientist Varlek Sar. Napier sets off to infiltrate the city of Mypos, populated by a race of fish people, where Sar is in hiding, but in the process becomes captured and encounters a mysterious woman from his past.

Issue one of The Flames Beyond establishes itself as a standalone story arc. While reading of Napier’s previous adventures is helpful, it is not necessary. The first few pages quickly recap Napier’s astral-projection abilities and his relationships before tossing him into encounter after encounter. The action is pulpy and lighthearted, with Napier quipping fish-related one liners as he fights the fish people. Napier is an unflappable and resourceful character and genuinely interesting to read as he uses his wits and abilities to escape his many instances of being captured. Issue one carries the sword and planet magic that simply does not show up often in stories nowadays; it’s a refreshing and imaginative read. In the age of photographing blackholes and putting robots on Mars, The Flames Beyond has a distinct, old-school charm to it.


Creative Team: Christopher Paul Carey (writer), Cyrus Mesarcia (artist), Beezzz Studios (colorist), and Natalie Jane (letterer)
Publisher: American Mythology
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