Dark Horse Comics 2015
Created & Written by Chris Warner
Penciled by Patrick Olliffe
Inked by Tom Ngyuen
Coloured by Gabe Eltaeb
Lettered by Michael Heisler
If she can succeed in making a mint on Stormblüd’s bounty, Barb will save her rock bar/money pit, the Hammerhead, give a much-needed ratings boost to her reality television show, and keep two fierce street-gang leaders off her case. Now, having tracked Stormblüd to his abandoned steel-mill hideout, Barb is finding she might be outside of her scope of skills—which is why she didn’t want to go after this particular bounty in the first place. But turning back is no longer an option . . .
I love that this series is both a great introduction to the character for new readers and a welcoming sight for longtime fans. I am so happy that Chris has decided to come back to his creation to tell more of her stories. She really is one of the original strong female characters that set the stage for so many to follow. Hard, tough, caring and intelligent she is what the world needs when it comes to demonstrating there is no such thing as the weaker sex.
There’s a brutal type of honesty happening here as well. When Barb thinks she’s got the upper hand and is proven wrong it’s just nice to see her be fallible. The entire orchestrated time she and Stormblud are running, she trying to survive him, we see her thinking on her feet, using the team with her to her advantage and showcasing that there really is so much to her than meets the eye. She’s a bounty hunter, nightclub owner and businesswoman. All these things she uses to her advantage in any given situation whether it’s thinking on her feet or dealing with unruly drunk customers. That’s her real strength, while she may come across hard as nails and cold as ice she’s not and we see that vulnerability in moments like the chase.
Another thing I really enjoyed about all this is what happens once Barb manages to take Stormblud down. The other characters in her life, whom we’ve met in the bar fight already, have a grudging respect for her but still feel like they can take advantage of her. This is going to be fun to see play out in the future. Mace in particular has his own sense of values and ethics when it comes to his people and how treats others, so long as it’s in his best interest. Still what we see with him this issue only raises more questions and something Barb is going to have to deal with down the road.
I think issue does something extremely rare and that’s not only tie up the introductory arc nicely and neatly but it also lays the groundwork for underlying theme that will permeate the series. We wondered where Stormblud came from and why he was not only delusional but so strong and childlike at the same time well while we stay may wonder at least some clues are thrown our way. The involvement in this kind of shocked me then made actions taken in this issue make more sense. Suddenly there’s a whole realm of intrigue surrounding the book that wasn’t there. If possible it just made the book that much more interesting.
Dark Horse is the home for some magnificent storytelling and i’m thrilled Barb Wire is back as part of that.