Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Joe The Barbarian #2 of 8
Vertigo Comics (DC Comics)
Morrison & Murphy
Joe the Barbarian turns in another terrific issue as Morrison shows that his greatest idea in this particular series is his selection of an artist. The comic book has an interesting story, but the success of this issue, as was the case for the first issue, is the incredibly creative art. The story creates a setting that allows Sean Murphy to stretch his legs and bang out some amazing pages that are packed with details and all sorts of goodies. The artwork makes this an issue that is not to be missed.
The issue has an easy set up to it. Joe begins to interact with the toys in his hallucination. At first he just simply says how everything is a mistake or not real, but eventually he begins to take action as he rescues a giant mouse. The hook is that Joe has a pet mouse in his real life and that speaks to the most unique part of the story.
Throughout the issue Joe is acting out on the stage of his hallucination while his body is doing the same physical motions, only in his real life house. Joe dunks his head in a small waterfall in his hallucination while Joe’s body is rinsing his head under the tub faucet in real life. Joe falls off a cliff in his dream while his body tumbles out of the attic directly to the second floor of the house in real life. There are clues about where this series might go as this issue again focuses on the fact that Joe left the front door of the house open.
The story also presents the quest as Joe interacts with Lord Arc. Lord Arc appears to have knowledge of how the dream world can be saved and presumably send Joe back to the real world. Lord Arc’s dialogue is difficult to follow but when parsed out there are some key clues about how the story could or might end up.
The artwork is as distinct as they come. There are a number of pages that have many toys from multiple eras interacting within the story. If you had any sort of childhood in the last thirty years you will no doubt recognize plenty of them. However, it’s not just the placing of all the toys that makes this issue special, but also the coloring. Each scene seems to have its own color theme without compromising the characters passing from one section of the comic to another. I found the coloring to set the mood of the scene perfectly each and every time. Morrison apparently gave Murphy the keys to the Cadillac and Murphy is turning it into something much greater.
This comic book has a cute little story idea turned into something more. With Morrison adding some strange elements, as only he can, and partnered with the breakthrough art by Murphy the comic book stands out on the shelves this week. This is something I definitely recommend.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles