Review: Barb Wire #2

Barbarella Wire is back to let you know that she still has problems with super powered dudes who are telling her to back off, trying to buy the building where her club is, and one massive Viking who destroys in his path just by walking in any direction… and the prom is tomorrow! (no it’s not). The pressure is really on with this issue. The whole thing begins with two rival motorcycle gangs and the inevitable race between two Meathead McBrodudes. As they’re racing, Barb not only shows up, but catches up to them and kicks their ass all mid race. That follows another chase by the rest of the gang, and a montage of Barb kicking ass and taking names (literally, so she can process them and collect the reward). And this is 10 pages into the issue.

While booking one of the many perps, out busts Wyvern Stormblüd, the Wompa-sized Viking man who’s forever drunk and angry. In his very own fashion, he goes and lets everyone who’s being booked out and storms out through whatever wall happens to be in front of him at the time. No reward, a whole lot more criminals to take down, very annoyed, she goes back to her office to be reminded that she may not be there for long since the building is on the market and she definitely can’t afford it.

Barb-Wire-#2Almost everything about this is much better than issue one, from the introduction of Barb to letting her take actions in the story, rather than her just reacting to the world around her. We have a similar introduction to Barb in this issue like we do in issue 1, a couple pages that depict how rough life is in Steel Harbor over a cheesy voice-over monologue, then Barb Wire comes in, but in this issue we see her in action before we even actually see her.

Barb in a motorcycle taking down to gang members mid race is way more badass than her leaning on someone’s bike like she’s in a photoshoot. This encounter with Wyvern Stormblüd is a lot more effective than the last one, where she was tossed around by him while she’s trying to calm things down. This time it establishes that 1) Barb can’t take that walking bulldozer by herself; and 2) It doesn’t mean she won’t try. The second half of the issue is spent regurgitating what was said in issue one about the chances of breaking the truce between the big crews in Steel Harbor, all of this info could have been a lot more useful, had it not been said in the first issue already.

The first thing I thought when I finished reading this issue was “why wasn’t THIS the first issue?” Seriously, it would’ve made for a much better first issue than Barb Wire #1. It establishes the story the same way last issue does, with a lot more action coming from Barb herself. She reacts to the problems set up for the overall comic arc rather than seeing such problems being piled one on top of the other, and this makes her seem like the most passive protagonist being marketed as a badass. She’s an ACTUAL BADASS in issue 2. I was excited to see the Slayer shirt and she seemed a lot more in control even when things weren’t in control. We still need to work on the one-on-one dialogues, because sometimes it’s too on the nose and other times it’s way pulpy, even for a pulp comic like this one.

Art improved this issue. Seeing Barb Wire in a Slayer shirt seemed a lot more fitting than a blue see-through blouse. Action was more dynamic and based around the characters’ movement instead of how good they’d look making those movements. I know Barb Wire is hot, I don’t need to see that every panel. And the fact that only one person called her the “B” word in this issue has more effect than everyone and their mom calling her “Babe.”

Barb Wire #2 is a good issue that suffers from the failures of the first. If you’re wondering if you should give this series a shot, starting with this comic helps the series a lot more than going back to reading issue #1.

Score: 3/5

Barb Wire #2 Writer: Chris Warner Artist: Patrick Olliffe Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 8/5/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital