Review: Barbaric #1
There’s a certain formula to the “Barbarian genre” best shown in stories like Conan the Barbarian. The stories usually feature lots of brutal action with axes swinging and enemies slashed apart. There’s also mystical elements featuring witches or evil spells. And there’s a bit of a regressive nature about them as the main character beds women, tend to find themselves at the center of the world, and only help when they’re forced or it benefits them. Barbaric #1 on the surface seems like another spin on that formula but it’s far more sly and intelligent.
Owen the Barbarian is cursed to do good. Yes, he was the typical barbarian trope but a trio of witches has forced him to actually help people when asked. Then, there’s Axe, Owen’s talking mystical axe who only wants the blood of evil individuals. Put them together and you have Ghost Rider in a barbarian setting with a social justice spin to it all. And, it’s awesome.
Written by Michael Moreci, Barbaric #1 at first comes off as a crazed barbarian who has a code of justice and might be crazy. But, as the story expands and more details are revealed, it turns into something so much more. Moreci has taken the classic barbarian trope and delivered a spin to it. Though the title is barbaric, its underlying themes and “code of conduct” is anything but.
Barbaric #1 is fun in that it sets up a story that feels like the classic barbarian story. It has all sorts of violent fights. Boy parts are slashed off. Blood flies with glee. That glee delivers an almost comedic aspect to it all. The violence delivers laughs as the comic is able to deliver a comedic beat and deliver that’s almost physical in nature.
That’s all done by the impressive art of Nathan Gooden. The comic sticks to the classic barbarian visuals but does so in such an exaggerated way. Axe adds to it all as the reader is unsure if it’s really talking. That leads to some solid moments of laughter as the characters within the comic are left to ponder the same thing. Addison Duke‘s colors pop and Jim Campbell‘s lettering helps bring all of the jokes together. Campbell’s lettering gives Axe a lot of its personality and enhances so many of the other characters. The art is fantastic with a style that’s part Conan, part Groo, and part Lobo, and most importantly all fun.
Barabric #1 is a hell of a start that sets things up nicely. By the end, we know the mission, we know the tone, and we know “the rules”. There’s an underlying intelligence in all of that’s unexpected and makes this stand out. This is a comic for people looking for something a little smarter than your average hack and slash.
Story: Michael Moreci Art: Nathan Gooden
Color: Addison Duke Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review