Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blackthorn Thunder on Mars- A Review

Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars by Van Allen Plexico
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blackthorn- A Review

“Blackthorn- Thunder on Mars”, by Van Plexico and friends is a rather unique anthology title. Mr. Plexico created the character and invited several friends (Bobby Nash, Mark Bousquet,James Palmer, Sean Taylor, Joe Crowe, I.A. Watson, Danny Wall, and Mark Beaulieu) to come along and play by writing a chapter each in the first novel starring the somewhat familiar hero.
Why is Blackthorn familiar? He is somewhat of an homage to an early 80’s cartoon character named ‘Thundarr the barbarian’ as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs ‘John Carter of Mars’. You will see the resemblance to both properties when you begin to read Blackthorn’s adventures and in fact Van admits to having a soft spot for both characters in his introduction.
But that being the case and all things being equal this is definitely its own book, character and adventure, and burgeoning mythos, as you will find out.
All the stories in this volume tell different tales that add to the adventure as a whole, but each one IS a self-contained story. All were excellently written and were spread out not only for some distance across the terraformed Martian landscape, but also across more than a few months.
The three main characters are John Blackthorn, Princess Aria and Oglok the Mock-man. They are on a mission to overthrow control of the red planet from four powerful beings who call themselves ‘sorcerers’ (Though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s all done with science and mirrors.) John Blackthorn himself is a time displaced US Soldier, a General actually, who finds himself suddenly far in the future and in a new body he does not know or remember. In other words the face in the mirror is not his. Another problem he has is that all his memories of his former life on Earth are fading, and quickly enough that he knows they will still all soon be gone and that he cannot do anything about it.
All of these problems and more weigh in on Blackthorn and crew while they are moving from town to town battling almost inconceivable evils in their journey across the red planet.
All in all this is a fun read. It takes place on a world that is totally unrecognizable in a dystopian future. It is an intriguing read to be sure.
Of course, if I wanted to nitpick I could say the main characters bear too much of a resemblance to the ‘Thundarr the Barbarian’ characters and that the cover artwork was below a level I normally expect from those associated with this novel, but looking at it, I do have to concede that it is “Kirby-esque” in a rather fitting way, especially since the King himself was so heavily involved in Thundarr.
All in all it was a rather enjoyable read, and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. It’s one of those novels you can sit back and forget about the world outside your door by becoming immersed in the book in your hands.
Highly recommended- Five Stars.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the good review, Ralphie. Glad you enjoyed it.