Owen returns in full-on fighting mode as he and his trusty, cursed axe swing for giant vampires and other fantasy figures in ‘Barbaric: Axe to Grind’ #1. From Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke and Jim Campbell.
Owen and his speaking, swearing axe are back and alongside him is Soren and Steel, the latter character we met in the recent Barbaric: The Harvest Blades one-shot. And someone Owen and Soren are freeing from a live of vampire servitude. The gags, and blood, flow quickly as we are thrown straight into the action as the three heroes take on giant vampires. And other than a hearty drink at a local hostelry – and another act of kindness he is forever forced to deal – it’s pretty much an action-packed issue all the way, moving from land to sea and even larger dangers.
Michael Morcei’s script is frantic and fun, while the return of Nathan Gooden on art is much welcome by this reviewer. An artist who knows exactly what expressions work best to land a joke or relay any number of emotive responses from the cast of characters. It all helps to sell the story. Meanwhile, Addison Duke’s colours flesh out this fantasy world with a strong contrast between cooler, greenish hues and fiery, warmers colours. And Jim Campbell’s lettering not only helps delineate various characters, but adds additional sensory satisfaction to the breaking of bones and the slicing of flesh across this gore-filled issue.
Barbaric: Axe to Grind #1 is a strong opening issue and balances the comedic moments with the more violent scenes superbly. And with the re-introduction of a character from Owen’s past, we have another archetypal fantasy character acting in a very untypical way. Something of a unique selling point with Barbaric, and one that helps make this sword and sorcery series stand out from other comics of this ilk. One part parody and one part full-on gory fantasy adventure, and wholly satisfying to read.
Barbaric: Axe to Grind #1 is out now from Vault Comics