I’m a sucker for variant covers that pay homage to Marvel comics Conan #1 by Barry Windsor-Smith. That cover is one of my all-time favorites, so when a modern comic honors that I’m usually going to part with some cash. While I was in Newbury comics this afternoon they had Barbaric #1, from Vault comics on the shelf. I took one look and was all in. I got home, read it, loved it, and immediately texted my buddy John at work and asked him to put it on my pull list.
Writer – Michael Moreci
Artist – Nathan C Goodeen
Colorist – Addison Duke
Letterer – Jim Campbell
Variant cover artist(s) – Nathan Gooden & Tim Daniel
I’m not going to write a detailed synopsis of the book because if you’re at all interested in reading the comic I’d say head down to your local comic shop and buy a copy. I will say that the story introduces the reader to the main character, Owen the Barbarian, in an exciting fashion. Owen and his ax are in an arena being forced to do battle with three criminals while the blood thirsty crowd watches. Following the events in the arena, which includes some great dialog and bloody action, we get part of Owen’s history.
There is just enough to the backstory that the reader can understand what is going on in the present without being overwhelmed in origin tales. The comic ends with an action packed introduction to an unnamed witch who sets up the events for the next issue.
What really got me wrapped up in this comic is the dialog and the pacing of the story. It grabbed me right away with tough talk from Owen which he backed up with his ax. There is a curse that is intriguing and is set up in such a way that you need to keep turning the pages to find out what’s going on. Satisfyingly, the basic questions get answered right away, so now I really want to see what happens next.
The dialog is filled with enough humor that I don’t take it too seriously, and the book is not weighted down with lofty language that clutters the page. There are three well done acts that fill the comic leaving only two house ads at the end. It was very nice to read a story that doesn’t end two pages after the staples.
It is also worth mentioning that this is an adult story with gore, bloodshed, swearing and nudity. While I can sometimes be judgmental about that kind of thing when mixed with fantasy story telling I think that all works perfectly here. The tone is set early and is consistent throughout the issue.
I know that’s not much of a review, I was just so excited after reading a really good comic that I wanted to write about it. I commend the team at Vault comics for putting together a quality comic with a great story, great art, and great writing. I can’t wait until the second issue comes out.