Review: Joe The Barbarian #4

Avatar image for inferiorego
Posted by inferiorego (25638 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided
  Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy's Vertigo run continues as a boy get trapped in his own imagination, and ends up in a kingdom where some want to kill him and others want to help him. Although it's only 4 issues in, does this book have the steam to go all the way? Or will it fizzle out into the world of mediocrity?

The Good

The character design in this book is phenomenal, especially when it comes to costumes/clothing. I am such a big fan of Joe's outfit, and I can never really remember a time where I loved a character's outfit more than what else is going on in the book. Same goes for Chakk's outfit. I feel this is the strongest element of the book: costume design. Sean Murphy's art in this book is fantastic. It flows very well from panel-to-panel, and is just fun to look at.  

The Bad

I have so many unanswered questions at this time: Is this world real or only happening in his imagination? Is he completely oblivious to the real world? Does he have schizophrenia? I'm not only confused by that, but I'm confused by everything that's going on in the book. Grant Morrison dropped us into a world with a lot of backstory, and I feel I have to reread all the previous issues to get a small grasp on what's going on in this issue. The book is losing steam fast, and there better be something amazing happening in the next issue or two because I'm flat-out getting bored with the book.

The Verdict

This book has everything going for it: Great creative team, potentially great story, etc, but after issue one and two, I feel as though it's another one of those books I'm just not excited to read anymore. I can't recommend you go out and buy this book, but I'd definitely say borrow it from a friend. Something needs to be done quick because I'm losing interest in this book.


Avatar image for final_arrow
#1 Posted by Final Arrow (24407 posts) - - Show Bio

Great review man, Im still to look into this series and will have to pick it up looks a lot of fun.
Avatar image for sora_thekey
#2 Posted by sora_thekey (8812 posts) - - Show Bio

Will read this, after 3 issues this series is slowly becoming one of my favorite series I've ever read... 
Next to Days Missing (and I'm talking about stories that aren't Marvel and DC)

Avatar image for dr__maxwell
#3 Posted by Dr. Maxwell (676 posts) - - Show Bio

As with most Morrison things, I think this entire thing will make sense once its all over

Avatar image for jstarzyk
#4 Posted by jstarzyk (350 posts) - - Show Bio

I would give it a 4.  I'm still enjoying the series, and the art is really great.  I just want more of a reveal about what is going on, and while this issue started getting there it needs to be made clearer.  They are already halfway to the end...

Avatar image for asymmetrical
#5 Posted by Asymmetrical (23750 posts) - - Show Bio
@Dr. Maxwell said:
" As with most Morrison things, I think this entire thing will make sense once its all over "
agreed, which is one reason I'm so disappointed Seaguy has been left hanging for so many years already...until you get the end, the entire thing will never really make sense
but I've no thoughts about dropping this title just because I'm confused...I stuck around with The Invisibles for 59 issues when I couldn't figure out what was going on, but in the end with Morrison it is always worth it
Avatar image for swhorl
#6 Edited by swhorl (216 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't read the fourth issue yet, but after the third, I'm comfortable with how much I know about what's going on.  I agree, the first two issues you really don't have any idea.  And maybe in the end this is one of those stories where you have to decide what to take from it.  Anyone else here read Rogan Gosh, for example? 
This may be a story that works for you, or it doesn't.  Myself, I gave up on Greek Street, because despite the fact I like Greek mythology, I apparently do not know the stories well enough to get what the parallels are, and the story itself didn't do much for me.  I'm sticking with the Unwritten so far, because I have an idea of what I'd like it to be, and have seen bits of that in the story, but over all I feel I'm missing a lot of depth to it.

Avatar image for jakob187
#7 Edited by jakob187 (1030 posts) - - Show Bio

I absolutely love and adore this series.  I too wonder whether this world is real or fake, what will happen to Joe in the real world, etc.  However, I'm not trying to dig for answers in the book.  I'm enjoying it for what Morrison is writing, and he's writing the story of a boy trying to deal with this illness that he is afflicted with. 
Maybe the fact that you are trying to dig for answers is the problem with your level of enjoyment in the last two issues.  I thoroughly enjoyed issue #3, and while I haven't picked up issue #4 so far, the series definitely puts gives me a bit of sadness to know it's only an 8-issue run. 
Between this and Daytripper, as well as DMZ, Scalped, Northlanders, and Greek Street, Vertigo is proving yet again why they are the premier comic book label out there. 
It's kind of funny that you mention how a series could be "losing steam", because despite how much I like Daytripper, I felt like issue #5 wasn't as impactful to me as the first four, solely because of the gimmick that the series has going with it.  Maybe I'm digging too much into that for either answers or reasoning.  Who knows? 
Good review, however, and it definitely will have me thinking a bit more about this book than I have before. 
Also...Sean Murphy's art is probably some of the most astounding and gorgeous work I've seen in a LOOOOOOONG time.  Every panel is a breath of fresh air.

Avatar image for krebstar_3000
#8 Posted by Krebstar 3000 (11 posts) - - Show Bio

I couldn't disagree with this "review" anymore. I happen to believe that, "Joe the Barbarian" is one of the best independent comics available on the stands right now. Inferiorego, along with Gman's  argument, is that their is no back story to Joe; and that your thrown in to this haphazard situation with out any explanation as to why and how. What does the word adventure mean to you!?! I believe that in order for you to enjoy this (or any comic), you need to drop all conceptions of reality and strap in for the ride! It's only issue #4, a lot can happen between now and issue #8 so I'd hold off on criticizing JTB until its full vibrant picture has been painted. 
From the diverse character's and environments portrayed by some amazing art, JTB is a recommended must read comic!

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.