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Review Group Week 206 - JOE THE BARBARIAN #1

Discuss the latest comic book news and front page articles, read or post your own reviews of comics, and talk about anything comic book related. Threads from the two subforums below will also show up here. News Stand topics can also be read and posted in from The Asylum.

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thefourthman
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Postby thefourthman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:34 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Joe the Barbarian
So, as a $1 comic, Joe the Barbarian is an amazing book. The art by Sean Murphy is rich and textured and beautifully detailed. He draws a number of full-page panels and demonstrates in them his ability to illustrate complex scenes with a perfect blend of realism and dynamic stylization. The page with the kid walking to his house as the bus drives off is simply amazing. A real masterpiece in a technical sense. Murphy has been on fire artistically since he did two issues of Hellblazer about a year ago. So I am very pleased that he will have the chance now to draw a long story and show off his considerable talents.

But that said, as an introductory chapter to an eight-issue story, I'm not sure what to make of Joe the Barbarian. We are introduced to Joe, a sickly teenage kid who is the cliched artist-type tormented by the cliched school bullies. We see that Joe comes from a broken home and that he considers his attic-bedroom a refuge from the ugliness of the outside world. And we also see Joe suffering a brief hallucinatory break from reality, where his toys come to life and introduce him to a nightmarish world. But we don't know where this story is headed or what this book is really about. In other words, there are a lot of introductions but not much action or development or even basic foreshadowing.

I'm not sure how to rate Grant Morrison's story so far. Obviously, it's unfair to expect too much from the first chapter in an eight-chapter story. But on the other hand, aside from a few lines of snappy dialogue ("This fairytale's on a one-way trip to hell"), nothing in the story made me want to read issue two. There's nothing in the book that hooked me in and kept me interested. Joe is not particularly interesting as a character. Hallucinations are not particularly novel (especially in Grant Morrison stories). Talking toys have been done before. So, to be honest, if the art weren't so damn good, I don't think I'd make any effort to pick up future issues.

Joe the Barbarian may turn into a wonderfully written series. But the first issue is a very, very, very slow start.

Story: 6
ART: 10

except for neglecting to mention the editorial issues, this review is spot on.

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Postby thefourthman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:36 pm

starlord wrote:I thought the mom was written to be kind of a poor paternal institute. She's obviously wrapped up in her own world and barely gives Joe a second thought. Kind of like what I see in the courthouse all the time.

yeah, this is one thing I will pay close attention to in my second reading. As a single parent, I know how easy it is to get distracted and wound up, there is no one else to help. There are times I know I have come off as unsympathetic to Morgan or been to busy to really be there for her. I may just be empathizing with her though and that is one of the reasons I give books rereads, especially one like this that a. felt so empty and b. so clumsy. I need to make sure that what I read is what I read.

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Postby 3MJ » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:43 pm

thefourthman wrote:
Morrison isn't afraid to try things. Sometimes he fails (Final Crisis), sometimes it is clumsy but admirable (Batman), sometimes it is brilliant (All Star Superman)... but it is always interesting and new.


Yes. Which is why I'm looking forward to reading this. I'm going to download it now, as I can't get to a comic shop for a while, but it'll be in my monthly comic pile :D

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Postby thefourthman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:46 pm

Jubilee wrote:Yes. Which is why I'm looking forward to reading this. I'm going to download it now, as I can't get to a comic shop for a while, but it'll be in my monthly comic pile :D

I'm gonna break the law, but it's okay cause I will pay for it later.

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Postby Punchy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:48 pm

I liked this, not a lot happened, but it was an interesting, atmospheric set-up.

And the art was fucking amazing.

Review tomoz.

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Postby Starlord » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:26 pm

Punchy wrote:I liked this, not a lot happened, but it was an interesting, atmospheric set-up.

And the art was fucking amazing.

Review tomoz.


I totally agree with this. And the art was some of the best I have seen in a LONG time. I kept going over the pages in the house because they were so well done.
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Max Blyss wrote:Months and months and months and the whole thing is still just an intersection at Dipshit Lane & Chip on my Shoulder Ave.

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Postby Eli Katz » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:32 pm

thefourthman wrote:except for neglecting to mention the editorial issues, this review is spot on.

Well, I understand your beef with the interviews and solicits ruining the impact of the first issue, but I tried not to consider that when I reviewed it. Instead, I tried to look at just the book, and not get pissed off that the hallucination part was already ruined as a surprise going in. It's true that Morrsion did not make it abundantly clear that the kid's diabetes was triggering the visions, but I assume that will be made clearer as the story develops.

Also, I don't really care if it's a realistic depiction of diabetes or a completely fictionalized version of it. If it adds to the overall story, I'm willing to suspend disbelief. The best Edgar Allan Poe stories--like "Tell-tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher"--include exaggerated diseases to make the stories even creepier. It's an old plot device and I'm okay with Morrison doing that here, if that is in fact what he's doing.

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Postby Old Man » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:36 pm

Even for a buck,
this sucked.

Review when I damn well feel like it. Maybe tonight.
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Postby thefourthman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:37 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Well, I understand your beef with the interviews and solicits ruining the impact of the first issue, but I tried not to consider that when I reviewed it. Instead, I tried to look at just the book, and not get pissed off that the hallucination part was already ruined as a surprise going in. It's true that Morrsion did not make it abundantly clear that the kid's diabetes was triggering the visions, but I assume that will be made clearer as the story develops.

Also, I don't really care if it's a realistic depiction of diabetes or a completely fictionalized version of it. If it adds to the overall story, I'm willing to suspend disbelief. The best Edgar Allan Poe stories--like "Tell-tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher"--include exaggerated diseases to make the stories even creepier. It's an old plot device and I'm okay with Morrison doing that here, if that is in fact what he's doing.

not really what I was talking about... I was talking about the editor being lazy and worthless. The thing that bugged me most were typos and dropped & odd phrases.

I'm cool with diabetes being the catalyst for whatever is going on, I just don't know how well he understands the disease and having a diabetic mother and grandmother, I am concerned about that (I will research a bit before I rake him over the coals about that though).

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Postby Eli Katz » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:39 pm

thefourthman wrote:not really what I was talking about... I was talking about the editor being lazy and worthless. The thing that bugged me most were typos and dropped & odd phrases.

I'm cool with diabetes being the catalyst for whatever is going on, I just don't know how well he understands the disease and having a diabetic mother and grandmother, I am concerned about that (I will research a bit before I rake him over the coals about that though).

Ah, yes, the typos. "It it wasn't for him..." That looks frickin amateurish, especially because there were so few lines of dialogue to begin with.

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Postby thefourthman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:43 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Ah, yes, the typos. "It it wasn't for him..." That looks frickin amateurish, especially because there were so few lines of dialogue to begin with.

or the awkward phrasing when he goes off about high school stereotypes.

It's a weird book... I don't know how I feel about. especially considering that I think all the reviews are pretty accurate and fair thus far. It sure is pretty though.

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Postby MrBlack » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:52 pm

It was an interesting issue, but I'll be damned if I know what's going on. It seemed like the kid was cheesing his brains out on a Hershey bar or something.

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Postby ****** » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:38 pm

GHERU wrote:when did I become a Simone fan?
or, is this you being "funny" again?


So I take it that means you won't be picking Wonder Woman?

Drat!

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Postby 48THRiLLS » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:30 pm

Just read this, wasn't impressed... it was purdy tho.
Review this weekend.

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Postby Old Man » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:01 am

Well, it's Friday where I am (barely), and I've still not reviewed it. Maybe later Friday.
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