If you are in search of an action graphic novel filled with blood, guts and humour, look no further. Barbaric is the perfect title for you.
In this book we are introduced to Owen the Barbarian, strong and violent warrior who comes from the Barbarian land. His life was simple: “I drank. I fucked. I fought. I fucked. I fought. I drank. I fou... – you get the point”. It all ends one day when he gets cursed by witches. The curse is an interesting one – he is bound to do what is right or he will end in hell where his dead enemies await him. He must aid in any cry for help, no matter how big or small it is. And how does he knows who is good and who is bad? His moral compass is a blood thirsty axe which has a skeleton face. Together, they roam from place to place, helping anyone who needs their help, by killing bad guys.
The current adventure starts in a tavern where Owen saves a woman accused of being a witch. After Owen interrupts the attempted witch hunt, undead monsters start coming out from the ground and the massacre starts. As it turns out, Soren, a woman who was accused of being a witch, is a necromancer, although a good one, and she points out there is some bad stuff happening in the village abbey, and that is the source of the monsters. Owen, Soren and the Axe then head there to exterminate whatever evil is living there.
From the beginning of this book, the reader is introduced to fighting, blood, nudity and violence. The story is set in a fantasy world filled with people, elves, witches and monsters of every type and size. Action starts quickly, with a short introduction to the main character. Soren’s story is detailed from her childhood and the story details the origin of her powers
The storytelling is quick, dynamic and straight to the point: you could almost say barbaric. Owen and the Axe are not complicated characters. Just allow Owen to fight, and give blood to the Axe and they are happy.
The artwork is awesome, creating a mystical, fantasy world, and it goes hand in hand with the story and situations. Colours are change depending on the creatures Owen is fighting. For example, when he is fighting humans, the predominant colour is red. The blood and guts are everywhere, accompanied by cut heads, limbs and other body parts.
There are many meditations throughout the story about what is good, what is wrong, and comments about humans and society in general. The Axe, for instance, comments about the slave owner who wants Owen to kill people in the name of his god: “You know what else is immoral? Forcing a man to kill so he can prove what a maniac his god is – that’s what.” Later in the book Owen meditates about his curse while talking with the Axe: “Not to mention doing what’s “right” isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. […] Because what’s right for one person might be wrong for another.”
The author manages to mix magnificent humour with these more thoughtful meditations that made me laugh loudly in the train while travelling to work. The Axe is having a drinking problem, and its liquid of choice is blood: “Get that sweet f***** nectar of life, Owen!” Owens response: “My axe has spoken.” Their whole relationship and communication is ridiculously funny.
This graphic novel is super fun and it can energize you for the day in front of you! As I mentioned multiple times, it’s filled with violence, nudity and strong language so I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. If you are an adult, go for it. You will not regret it.