"Air Pirates of Mars, Chapter 8: Flesh May Wither... ... And Stone May Crumble!"
Prince and Princess of Helium, John Carter and Dejah Thoris enjoy a day's sand-skiing on the Barsoomian plains. Their frolics seem an incongruous diversion away from the climate of conflict in the Martian state. Indeed, what price a Warlord of Mars without a war to wage?
Around an impromptu desert camp with gathered friends, John recounts a tale of his past life on Earth, where he and some companions had a brush with Voodoo and bad medicine.
All listeners scoff at the story, but Kantos Kan's lover, Lyssia. She gives it credence, as she's touched by a bit of the psychic. Her "gift" foresees an impending death in the ranks.
The Great One is uncovered, at last. He's an imposing, intimidating giant figure whose body appears an amalgam of all Martian races, plus part White Ape too. Despite this aura of superiority, he's hiding underground in a secret desert base.
Alone together again in their private chambers, John and Dejah plan to reacquaint their conjugal intimacy. Kantos Kan plays a similar scenario on a lower level of the same building. His ardor is halted in full-flow by the arrival of hooded Red Men assassins. Carter forgoes the foreplay to jump headlong into the unfolding fracas.
Helium is rocked by a massive explosion caused by the buried, but forgotten artificial arm of Stara Kan. Science and sorcery animates the geological landscape into lethal leviathans of destruction.
Literally, Land Snakes alive! The stone serpents pose another great danger, as their eyes emit energy beams which transmute living tissue to stone. Grogg and Tars Tarkas engage in some light banter - uncomfortable, given the current circumstances. Who said Tharks have no sense of humor?
JC rides the snake to where Stara Kan's original mechanical arm had been planted in the city. His first attempt to destroy the avatar of Helium's doom is repelled by an electrical discharge designed to protect the lifeless limb. John saves the day, but not everyone survives to share in the victory.