Monday, June 8, 2015

Review - Barb Wire #1

"Bail enforcement, you naughty boy. Tell your little friends goodnight."

For all the enjoyment that comes with going to the club, being the club owner is probably lacking in that regard. Dealing with unruly patrons, ensuring enough alcohol is on hand and being able to make rent are all things for an owner to contend with. Being a part-time bounty doesn't really make things any easier, as Dark Horse Comics portrays in Barb Wire #1. The issue is written by Chris Warner, illustrated by Patrick Olliffe, inked by Tom Nguyen, colored by Gabe Eltaeb and lettered by Michael Heisler.

Nail-hard tough and drop-dead gorgeous, Barb Wire is the baddest bounty hunter on the mean streets of Steel Harbor, where gangsters can lift bulldozers and leap rusting factories in a single bound. The hunting is stupid good and the bounties are hella big—if Barb lives long enough to collect.

Barb Wire is an interesting character, as she's a feisty brawler going up against opponents often twice her size. Despite that fact, she still manages to maintain some semblance of wit and reality, both of which Warner captures pretty well in Barb Wire #1. His characterization of her is one of a woman who's equally as comfortable dueling the aforementioned opponents or running her club with a personality that's as sharp as her name implies. Warner's pacing effectively introduces the reader to Barb Wire the bounty hunter, before showing has as Barb Wire the struggling nightclub owner. The dialogue is pretty enjoyable as well, with characters participating in exchanges that Warner litters with insults and admiration.

Olliffe illustrates Barb Wire with a physical intensity that convinces the reader that despite her smallish stature, she's more than capable of fighting big thugs. In fact, considering the somewhat oversexed nature of the character in general, Olliffe doesn't let that image of her overtake her portrayal in the issue; instead, she's presented as more tough as nails as opposed to eye candy. Nguyen's inks help capture the somewhat depressing nature of Steel Harbor, as the characters are cleanly defined against some pretty intricate Steel Harbor scenery. Eltaeb uses colors that further the characterization of Steel Harbor, with a metallic blue pervasive throughout much of the work.

Barb Wire #1 is a fun first issue that promises to be just the tip of the iceberg as far as a day in Steel Harbor goes. Barb Wire has to contend with a lot more than she probably should, but she's clearly up to the task to do so. Warner's characterization of her is strong and smart, two traits which will definitely serve her well when going up against the worst of the worst in Steel Harbor. Ottliffe's illustrations are clean and a great depiction of the character and setting, offering looks at a world where the big pretty much get what they want and the little have to get out of the way. Barb Wire #1 is a book that fans of the property should check out, but those looking to learn more about the character will likely find something enjoyable here as well.

Barb Wire #1 is in stores July 1.


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