Barb Wire is a badass bounty hunter and bar owner in the city of Steel Harbor. However, the city is changing and Barb has run into financial woes. Will she be able to adapt to the changing city or will it eat her alive? Is it good?
Barb Wire #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Writer Chris Warner sets the stage for the changing atmosphere in Steel Harbor right away with some very elegant news broadcasting, “Our long night is ending. Dawn is on the horizon.” Of course, when someone starts a book off with change there is no doubt going to be resistance. The motorcycle gangs of Steel Harbor are going to be in the forefront of that resistance.
However, they not only have to deal with the city, but with Barb Wire as well. Warner and penciller Patrick Olliffe introduce us to Barb in stunning fashion as she sits astride a very good looking orange and black motorcycle. This leads into an exciting action sequence where she has to defend herself from a number of attackers wielding small blades and a baseball bat. The scene shows her strength, tenacity, and willpower. However, I did feel they went a little overboard on the violence towards the end of the scene.
Her main bounty is being subdued by her teammates and he begins yelling at her, calling her all sorts of despicable names. Instead of taking the higher road and ignoring the uncouth lawbreaker, Barb resorts to violence. She lowers herself to his level and comes off looking worse than the person she is apprehending. It does however depict a massive character flaw that she will have to overcome. I am interested to see how Warner will make use of this flaw further on in the story.
This wasn’t the only sore spot during this sequence; there were some unnecessary lines of dialogue. The characters shout out multiple variations of, “Take her down!” Once is enough.
The story takes a turn and places Barb in the role of club owner. The story slows down quite a bit in this portion and focuses more on character introductions and setting up the story arc. Warner introduces us to the lead antagonists. The first is Mace, a burly cigar-smoking, fedora-wearing gang leader. The second is Chico, a shirtless, leather jacket-wearing gang leader who isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with Mace. Finally, the third and most important antagonist is Wyvern Stormblüd. Wyvern Stormblüd is a drunken modern-day Viking.
The clash between the three antagonists and the verbal sparring is good fun. Stormblüd’s drunken ramblings are hysterical as he continues to repeat the same line of trash talk eventually building into a massive bar fight.
Patrick Olliffe’s artwork definitely gives the main characters unique designs. They are all clearly identifiable and distinct. For the most part, he does a really good job putting the characters into believable situations, but there are some panels where a character’s face will be distorted or a body portrayed in an extremely awkward position. I was also not a fan of Barb’s hat clearly stating what she is doing. It would have been more interesting if it showed her company’s name instead of the generic “Bail Enforcement Agent.” That just screams lack of creativity or rushed panel creation to me.
Is It Good?
Barb Wire #1 is a good, fun read. It does have some minor setbacks with body contortions and proportions. There are also some minor dialogue issues. However, the characters were interesting and there was plenty of action and what looks to be a good story about the city of Steel Harbor and the direction it may go. One thing is for sure Barb Wire will be in the middle of it.