My god, I love this series so much.
I make no claim to being an expert on the sword and sandal genre, but I do know that I love Conan the Barbarian, I love A Princess of Mars, and I love Barbaric.
If you didn’t read the first excellent volume of this series, allow me to give a very brief recap. Owen, our title barbarian, is your typical bloodthirsty savage warrior, bedding damsels and stealing gold and generally being an ass all around the ancient world.
One day, Owen is caught in a storm at sea, and before he slips into a watery grave (and then into a burning hell filled with a lot of people who want to get their hands on him) a group of witches appear and offer him a deal: Become a defender of the weak, helping those in need and punishing the guilty, or end his life there and spend eternity in torment.
After a much longer than expected pause to think, Owen agrees to the deal and is forced to become a hero for the downtrodden, and is burdened further with a mystical axe which not only guides him and keeps him on the right path, but that is also a blood drunk maniac that constantly pushes him to kill evildoers so he can get his next fix.
All caught up? Great, because the creative team behind the first volume has just released a new one-shot, Barbaric: The Harvest Blades, to help set up the next upcoming volume. So let’s take a look at this story and see if it keeps this world going strong!
Here’s the blurb:
Michael Moreci (Author), Nathan Gooden (Cover Art, Artist), Richard Pace (Artist), and Addison Duke (Colorist)
Like a punch in the privates, BARBARIC is back! Bloodier and more irreverent than ever. In this one-shot, Owen, the barbarian cursed to do good, is forced out of hiding and back to his old B.S.! A whole bunch of violence, ethically approved, of course, by his moral compass, the talking Axe! Find out for yourself why Entertainment Weekly, Thrillist, Screen Rant, and a whole bunch of other people called BARBARIC one of the best comics of 2021.
The first of many one-shots that further explore the world of Barbaric, whose second arc, Axe To Grind, arrives in July!
As I said, I really love this series. It’s honestly a beautiful, bloody, and oh so violent love letter to the genre, while also being it’s own unique thing.
Our story opens with Owen regaling a group of children with a story of how he and a mysterious group of wanderers defeated an evil wizard and stole all of their great riches. It’s a fun way to open this book because not only does it fill it a little bit more of Owen’s mysterious backstory, it also nicely parallels the adventure he is about to go on with a new, even more mysterious group.
Before he knows it a messenger arrives and asks him for the one thing he can’t deny, help. I don’t want to spoilt too much here, but there are a lot of really interesting twists to this story and I really like the possibilities it sets up, and the added depth it gives to this world.
Moreci and Gooden are fantastic on this book, and the story they are weaving with these characters and this world is honestly a breath of fresh and brilliant air. Not only is it beautiful and action packed, it’s also one of the most legitimately funny comics I have read. The closest thing I can compare the tone to is The Goon, which, as readers of mine know, is one of the best comics ever written.
When your book is so good the only thing I can think to compare it to is the best comics I know, well, that speaks for itself I think.
If you’re looking for a fun, action packed book with some surprising heart and depth, this is the book for you. If you loved Conan the Barbarian and the work of Eric Powell, check Barbaric: The Harvest Blades out !
That’s it for me friends. Until next time, stay safe!