Barb Wire #1
Writer: Chris Warner
Pencils: Patrick Olliffe
Inker: Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover by: Adam Hughes
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Published on: 7/1/14
Uttering the name Barb Wire usually elicits many mixed memories out of people. Usually more of the Pamela Anderson Barb Wire movie and less memories of the comic it was based off of. Barb Wire came about in the 90's as part of Dark Horse's Comics' Greatest World line. Barb Wire herself is easy enough to explain, she's a bounty hunter and owner of a club called The Hammerhead. That's all you need to know going into this comic. Chris Warner's intro to her town Steel Harbor, her character, and everything else sums up the rest, and you're on with the show. Your mind is already thinking with Barb Wire you're getting Pamela Anderson movie Barb Wire, this comic is as far from that as possible. Simply put, as we go on with this review have an open mind, have an open heart, and realize that a comic can surprise you.
Barb Wire is one comic that you almost expect to be a brutal read, but it's actually not a bad comic at all. Chris Warner makes this much more fun than you'd expect. Warner's script has fun and embraces the character and her world. It's always fun to see a comic embrace what it is and go for it, but it's not perfect. The comic is too goofy at points as her supporting cast is a little weak, especially on the bounty hunter and reality show end of things. I like the reality show concept and would love to see that fleshed out more.
The Hammerhead side of things worked a little better and was easier to flesh out. This is where I felt the comic started to come together. Barb Wire's character shows another side of herself from awesome action superstar to strong business owner. Both sides work in different ways in the story, but the tones still remain consistent. There's a brilliant action scene that made me laugh out loud in the club. I'm a sucker for a fun action scene, and this one worked for me. I look forward to seeing what comes out of that craziness.
Here's the part that helped this comic more than anything else: Patrick Olliffe. His art has been everywhere over the years, Spider-Girl and Untold Tales of Spider-Man being two of his most well known projects. Olliffe's art provides smooth storytelling throughout. It's hard hitting, energetic, and above all a lot of fun. Going into this I had no idea who was working on the art end of Barb Wire, and Olliffe's name gave me hope that this was going to be a cool book. Warner could not have asked for a better artist to show his vision for Barb Wire. Throughout the story Barb Wire is portrayed as a strong character, and Olliffe's art is consistent with Warner's script to get that across. Olliffe's art will help get people that may have been a little hesitant in giving the comic a fair shake through the door.
I also liked Nguyen's inking over Olliffe's art. The inks really helped give an extra smoothness to Olliffe's already clean art style. Even better is Gabe Eltaeb, whose coloring on Barb Wire is great. It creates a level of depth to Olliffe's work, putting a nice sense of focus to the proceedings with an excellent use of light and shadows. Especially in the lightning of The Hammerhead, Barb Wire's Bar, fueled by flashing colors and showing the energy of the place. The great coloring here enhanced Olliffe and Nguyen's work on Barb Wire.
Barb Wire is a comic I wasn't sure what to make of and found myself having a good time with the book. I will say that I know there are some of you even reading my words that are going to be iffy on checking out anything Barb Wire. A shame as I think if given a fair shake, Barb Wire is a pretty solid book. It's a comic that managed to surprise me, and if you're curious I say give it a shot. Who knows if a Barb Wire movie ever happens again, but using this as a framework, the film may be in better shape this time around.
If the second issue continues from the first to build upon the positives, we could have a fun series on our hands. It's nice to see a comic surprise me and Barb Wire is one of the biggest surprises for me comic wise in a long time.