A Writer’s Commentary: Frank Barbiere talks the grand finale, Dejah Thoris #6, on sale now from Dynamite. The cover is by NEN and interior art by Francesco Manna.
PAGES 1 – 2
It was important for me here to really show how bad things are going in Helium. Valoris doesn’t want to just conquer Helium, he wants to raze it to the ground. We have the reappearance of Carter and Dejah’s new allies in a pretty fun moment, and hopefully start turning things more towards optimism for the finale.
I’m really happy with how this sequence came out. We get one of the most iconic moments in the whole series on page 5, with Dejah Thoris proudly standing over Valoris and proclaiming she is indeed Dejah, Princess of Helium. We’ve been opening most of our issues with Dejah renouncing this name, so hopefully it has a nice impact when we see she’s finally figured out her place and identity.
A big theme in this story is not to overlook greatness in the people around you. Thana’s journey from hand maiden to capable senator has been slowly churning, and here we see Carter himself noting just how capable she is.
PAGES 8 – 13
We reveal how Dejah was able to find her way back and the mysterious backstory of Valoris. I felt it far more effective to save Valoris’s backstory until we saw most of the other puzzle pieces of the plot—most notably, after Dejah saw for herself the condition of things in M’rkassa. While Valoris is by no means a “good man,” he has clear motivations—and with the use of the mysterious amulet he’s been able to do some serious damage to Helium.
The Jed is alive!
Really happy with how the double-page spread came out. We see all of our players at their climactic moments, and Dejah ultimately use her physical strength and cunning to destroy the amulet—a culmination of all the things she’s gone through in the previous issues.
This scene is really the thematic reveal of our story—we see Dejah finally understand that it doesn’t matter who she is on paper and that her people are capable of being part of the decision process in Helium. It’s a big step for her—we deliberately open the story with Dejah thinking Helium is the “heart of it all” and that the burden for making everything right is solely on her shoulders. This story has been about her broadening her perspective, and we see her embrace her new views here.
We get an epilogue where we further see how Dejah has changed—as well as the changes she’s made to the kingdom. We also finally reveal how Dejah is tied to M’rkassa—a simple case in the end, but one that was capable of providing her with new perspective. I’m really happy to close the series with Dejah affirming who she is, and realizing a name is just a name—it’s what we do that defines us.