Comic Recommendation: Barbaric

Vault Comics has put out the second volume of the sword-and-sorcery comic Barbaric.

Barbaric features a barbarian (go figure) named Owen. Owen has been cursed by witches to help deserving people who ask for aid. He is compelled by this curse to do good when Owen would much rather do the things that your typical fantasy barbarian would do. He is accompanied by a sentient, talking axe that tells him who he must kill and who he must aid. Most other people can’t hear the axe speak and those who can have some sort of supernatural characteristic.

Owen’s adventures take him places he doesn’t want to go to do things he doesn’t want to do but is compelled to do anyway.

Who’s it for?

Barbaric is definitely for those who love swords-and-sorcery. To go a little deeper though, it is for fans of sword-and-sorcery who want lots of gore, a heavy dose of horror, dark and transgressive humor. It’s heavy on the transgression.

What’s it for?

This is mostly entertainment. If you like dark, gory, transgressive, violent humor then you will be hard pressed to find a better book in print. The first page of the first issue grabbed me and hasn’t let go since.

There are explorations of morality and what it means to do good, be a hero, or an anti-hero. The theme of what it means to be a person who does good by killing bad people is part of the story and an important part of the story. However, Owen has a long list of transgressions, people he’s tortured and murdered and even when he’s meting out justice, he’s can be quite cruel about it. Even though the comic is largely an entertainment it also has some interesting things to stay about morality, stereotypes, and the consequences of violence.

What’s it like?

My comic book buying is fairly narrow in scope and I don’t buy that many. Fantasy, horror, some sci-fi are it and it is limited. Even then, it’s rare that I make a point of staying on top of a series and when it will come out. Barbaric is one of those rarities.

Barbaric combines violence, satire, and a bit of silliness in just the right proportions. Too much of any of those ingredients can make a story unappealing. Getting them all right, all at once, in one place is hard to do.

The art is superb. Nathan Gooden’s characters come alive on the page. The expressions and body language of the characters are clear and communicate as much as the dialogue. The action is brutal and gruesome. Heads, limbs, and guts fly across the page with every swing of Owen’s mighty arm so that Axe may drink it’s fill of evildoer’s blood.

Owen’s reluctant comrades add complexity to the story. In the second series Axe to Grind the secondary characters are more important and help to develop the background of Owen’s ugly past.

Barbaric is a fun series that I recommend. The publisher, Vault is spawning some spinoffs from Barbaric later in the year that will be worth checking out as well.

Barbaric Volume 1: Murderable Offences (affiliate link) and Barbaric Volume 2: Axe to Grind are available from you local comic book shop, and direct from Vault Comics.

2 thoughts on “Comic Recommendation: Barbaric

  1. danrimo

    Awesome I’ll check it out!

    Have you seen Kill 6 Billion Demons? I think it would be right up your alley and it is available free online as a webcomic. I just stumbled upon it recently and oh my whoa.

    Liked by 1 person

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