Vault Comics 2021
Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Nathan Gooden
Coloured by Adison Duke
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches.
I’m kind of surprised we haven’t seen more books like this on stands, Conan style sword and sorcery that is. Owen is a great character and his, lets call it enchanted, axe have the potential to be something both violent and somewhat hysterically funny. Michael manages to keep this from beingt stupid funny to high brow humour that is familiar and for me anyway full of innuendos. It is the kind of book that makes you shake your head while your laughing because it shouldn’t be funny or normal and yet it really is. I do wonder why there is all this boobage while the men are more fully clothed, it just seems that if women are going to be portrayed this way the men should as well, at least be topless if anything.
I do like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see is pretty sensational thanks to the dialogue, the character interaction along with how they act and react to the situations and circumstances that they encounter. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story, the characters and this work that they live in and its captured exceptionally well.
I like how we see this being structured and how the layers within the story emerge and grow. It is within these layers that we really see the characterisation and get a sense of who the characters are and what they are about as well as how the curse was placed upon him. What this does is add this extra depth and complexity to the story that’s great to see. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved exceedingly well.
I am rather enjoying the interiors here. Right off the bat the creativity and imagination is on display and the axe looks like some sort of Piranha and that’s kind of awesome. The linework is great and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is amazing stuff. I do wish we’d see more backgrounds, that arena should’ve been utilised more fully to showcase where he was at and what was happening around him. What we do see really enhances the moments, fleshes out the scenes more and working within the composition of the panels bringing us depth perception, a sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story is crazy good. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows us an extremely talented eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is beautifully rendered. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is exceedingly well rendered.
This is a highly entertaining book with some absolutely spectacular writing, witty dialogue and fantastic interior artwork. On the surface this may look like something you know but trust me once you start reading it this is unlike anything else you’ve seen. Quite honestly while I like Owen it’s his axe that steals the show. Vault is home to some stellar storytelling and the choose what to put out wisely instead of trying to flood the market.