REVIEW: 'Barbaric: The Harvest Blades' #1 by Michael Moreci, Robert Wilson IV, and Addison Duke


BARBARIC: THE HARVEST BLADES #1

Writer: Michael Morici
Artist: Robert Wilson IV, Addison Duke
Letters: Jim Campbell 
Publisher: Vault Comics
Release Date: July 13, 2022
Cover Price: $5.99

Like a punch in the privates, BARBARIC is back! Bloodier and more irreverent than ever. In this one-shot, Owen, the barbarian cursed to do good, is forced out of hiding and back to his old B.S.! A whole bunch of violence, ethically approved, of course, by his moral compass, the talking Axe! Find out for yourself why Entertainment Weekly, Thrillist, Screen Rant, and a whole bunch of other people called BARBARIC one of the best comics of 2021.

The first of many one-shots that further explore the world of Barbaric, whose second arc, Axe To Grind, arrives in July!

Score:

★★★★ (4/5)

When 'Barbaric' #1 was released a year ago it was an instant hit for its irreverent humor and blood-soaked action. Writer Michael Moreci mixed classic fantasy tropes with a modern comedic sensibility that made it a joy to read. It was an irresistible farce and its initial three-issue run was simply not enough for rabid fans. Fortunately and finally, the 'Barbaric' universe has expanded into one-shots while we await the second arc of the main title. 'The Harvest Blades' satiates fans with more wit and grit as Moreci joins artist Robert Wilson IV for a self-contained adventure that brings back the fun. 

Owen, a barbarian cursed to do the right thing and governed by a blood-thirsty talking axe, is back and he's reigning over a village during a time of peace and tranquility. Until one day, a trio of strangers approaches him seeking help to vanquish an enemy poised to terrorize their kingdom. An arrogant but cowardly knight, a sketchy mage, and a beautiful thief lead Owen and the axe on a journey fraught with danger and plot twists. 

Owen's motto is "a thirst for violence, sex, and mead-- in whichever order" and so he gets two out of three from this excursion. Owen and ax squabble, face giant monsters, get ambushed, and in the end, do the right thing. The extended issue allows for the entirety of the arc to come to fruition without feeling rushed or compromised. It's a fun and action-packed story with the sarcastic humor we've come to expect. We get to see a more fleshed-out world that Owen and ax inhibit making room for more kingdoms and villages to explore later on. 

Wilson IV does an admirable job of putting his touch on 'Barbaric' while Nathan Gooden does the art on the main series. The look is similar with perhaps a little less detail but the pacing and composition are first-rate. The fight choreography is pretty clear but brief at times. Overall, there is little drop-off from the regular series. Addison Duke provides the muted earth-toned colors full of blood red and brown as he does on the main title. 

'Barbaric: The Harvest Blades' is a tasty treat for fans hungering for more wild chaotic sword and sorcery action from Owen and his talking ax. 



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