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Review Brew: Barb Wire #1

Steel Harbor Blues Part 1

Writer: Chris Warner

Artist: Patrick Olliffe

 

I read the first issue of the relaunched Barb Wire series with no preconceived notions of what to expect. I had never read any of the prior comics featuring the character, nor did I ever see the 1996 flop movie starring Pamela Anderson. Ok, that was all kind of white lie. As a reviewer, I try my hardest to go in with a blank slate attitude, but when the main thing that is associated with this title is a failed movie featuring an ex Baywatch babe, it is hard to retain that train of discipline.

Creator Chris Warner scripts a new adventure featuring Barb, part-time bounty hunter in the crime ridden metropolis of Steel Harbor. The issue opens with our heroine and her team recovering a fugitive, as their exploits are filmed for a reality show. The action moves to the bar Barb owns, The Hammerhead, as she encounters some old allies and sees her place erupt in a full brawl. The dialogue between these characters is flat, and just uninteresting, despite implied familiarity with each other. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t know them, but no interaction between any of them made me want to get to know them. As the issue closed and we learn of Barb’s crushing money issues, I realized that this was for me, the definition of how not to put out a first issue. Nothing that happened made me want to see how this story will progress, and that is unusual for me. The central hook needed in a first issue was simply not there, and if this book is to make it to more than a few issues, it has to rely on new readers to help keep it afloat. The Barb Wire fan club just won’t be enough to get too far.

The good news is, Patrick Olliffe’s art is a slightly redeeming factor. Clean lines, good detail and nice attention to filling out backgrounds in panel. The action scenes are easy to follow, and full of energy. Unfortunately, this is not enough to make me want to read the next issue or recommend this book to anyone else. The added bonus of Adam Hughes drawing the covers in his typical bombshell glory is also another layer of great, but just not enough. Closing out, I can only hope that Dark Horse is more discerning in what properties they adapt in the future. Nineteen years after the car crash of a film, this issue proves that Barb Wire is a character that should stay in the drawer a while longer.

1 Blind Brother of 5

About John Amenta (74 Articles)
Born and raised in Central Connecticut. Raised on the good stuff, such as Star Wars, Marvel G.I. Joe comics and a heaping spoonful of Saturday morning cartoons. Many years later, still sticking to the ways of younger life, to counteract the terror of adult existence.
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