Volume 2227


27. "TREACHERY" -- June 7, '42
(read novelization

P1: Princess Dejah Thoris, whose body had turned to stone, was at last revived by the wizard's electronic decalcifier. 

P2: Now John Carter supported the weakened girl while he forced Vovo to lead them to safety. 

P3: But outside the laboratory, a group of Vovo's mechanical robots silently watched -- and waited! 

P4: The Earthman made Vovo mount the mechanical thoat -- then holding the princess, Carter leaped to the saddle behind the wizard. 

P5: Down a lonely avenue in the grotesque city of Eo, the mechanical beast galloped away at Vovo's order. 

P6: "The princess desires to join her friends and then proceed to Helium," Carter informed the wizard. 

P7: But Carter's words were hardly spoken when, at Vovo's signal, their mount suddenly collapsed, hurling its riders to the street before a squad of mechanical men! 


1. Dejah Thoris is revived by Vovo's machine. In the novelization her reunion, as a mobile being, with John Carter, need not have the same romantic depiction as shown in the Sunday strip. 

2. The remainder of the events in strip #27 convey a strange, dreamlike atmosphere. This fanciful sensation can be heightened in the novelization, to present the reader with a surreal sequence of events in which it becomes unclear what things are genuinely true and what things are unreal. 


Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

John Carter saw the logic in Vovo's explanation of things. If he could help bring the princess back to her normal self, the Earthman was ready to try the experiment. However, a Virginia gentleman do not barge into a lady's private chambers unannounced and uninvited. His first mental efforts were merely an attempt to make his presence known to her. 

The night wore on and he seemed to be making little progress. Dejah Thoris slept, undisturbed by Vovo's injections of dehydration nourishment. If she sensed the Earthman's attempt at telepathy she gave no indication of it. Then John Carter tried Vovo's second suggestion -- he made his mind a blank and listened mentally for her thought-words. 

Neither Her Majesty Dejah Thoris nor Captain John Carter have ever divulged all that happened on that mid summer's night in Vovo's laboratory. No doubt their experience was a deeply personal and private one. Still, some description of the events of that night can now be given to the reader. 

The Earthman was surprised at what came to him. The thoughts of the princess were more or less a fair reflection of what had been going on in Vovo's lab. She was aware that she was being revived from her earlier stony mumification. What was less clear was whether or not she sensed Captain Carter's presence at all. Finally a clear message took shape within his mind. 

"John? Are you here? You must be far away!" 

"Dejah Thoris!" his mentality answered back. "Yes, my princess. I am standing here beside you. Open your eyes and you shall see me." 

"This is so strange, John, I open my eyes but all I see is myself sleeping. Where are you, my chieftain?" 

John Carter could hold back no longer. The Princess Dejah Thoris, whose body had turned to stone, was at last revived. Now the Virginian took the maiden into his arms and lifted her head from the cold slab. Her eyes began to open but at first they did not focus upon the tall swordsman. 

"My -- my throat is so dry," were her first words. 

"Oh! I have been a bad host, have I not?" interjected the wizard. "Oman, put away your weapon and bring my finest wine. This is a time for celebration!" 

Captain Carter supported the weakened girl as her feet touched the floor. She was barely able to stand and her arms grasped his neck in a feeble embrace. 

"You must see me now!" cried the Earthman. 

"Yes, I see you, John. But why are your eyes closed?" she answered, still in a daze. 

The wine seemed to revive her senses. It was the first thing wet to pass through the man's lips in hours and he too felt invigorated by the heady Martian vintage. The couple did not notice that Vovo left his cup untouched. And, of course, Oman merely served the beverage, he had no tongue with which to taste such refreshment. 

"You have performed a great wonder," said John Carter. "I shall bear witness to your genius and to the great debt the red men owe you. But you promised our safe release and now it is time for us to depart Eo. Tell your minions to allow our safe passage from this place." 

"John -- Dotar Sojat, I am not so sure this little man has truly finished his work," the girl warned. "Something is very wrong here." 

"He shall finish it, my princess. This sword remains unsheathed until his promises are fulfilled," exclaimed the Earthman. At the same time he again nudged the green wizard with the keen tip of the Orovarian steel. 

Outside the laboratory, the couple saw a group of Vovo's mechanical robots silently watching the passing of their master. Now their eyes were no longer glazed and motionless. Each robot stared at them, as if ready to pounce, given the slightest signal from the Wizard of Eo. 

The Earthman made Vovo call for the mechanical thoat. However, when it arrived and the window was opened to admit the flying device, John Carter realized that the tower had again been retracted and the window landing now stood at ground level. Nevertheless he forced Vovo up onto the contraption and then made good use of his strong muscles in vaulting the princess and himself into the saddle also. 

"Make this thing fly!" he commanded. 

"First we must direct it to an open space." John Carter heard the wizard say. "The vegetation and buildings here are too densely packed to allow for a proper ascent." 

It was still night on Mars and neither of its hurtling moons had yet dropped over the horizon. For the first time the Earthman noticed how grotesque and nightmarish the city of Eo looked. Every building and feature had the appearance of an evil madness -- above every doorway and window was a leering stone likeness of the wizard. 

Down a lonely narrow alley the mechanical beast moved, increasing its speed at John Carter's insistance and Vovo's order. 

"Where is Sola?" asked the unperceiving girl. "Is she here in this place with us? What became of the giant bird. Everything is so hazy in my mind." 

"The princess desires to join her friend and then we all shall proceed to Helium," Captain Carter informed the wizard. Then he listened for an answer. 

"I fear your plan has a few kinks in it. The flying device cannot carry so many as you desire. See how much trouble it is having getting off the ground now, with only three passengers? Add a Thark and a calot to the load and you will never reach Helium. Nor can you pilot the flying device without much training. As for walkimg from here to Helium, chances are you'll never make it." 

These words were hardly spoken when Carter saw the wizard push a button on the saddle. The mount suddenly collapsed, hurling its riders onto the red sward that bordered the pathway. Before they could rise they were enveloped by an armed squad of Vovo's mechanical men! 

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