Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Wulf the Barbarian #1.

Atlas Comic Wulf the Barbarian #1Atlas Comics may have given us the questionable pleasures of Ironjaw but, happily, they had room in their scabbard for more than one sword.

The other one was Wulf the Barbarian.

Like his metal mouthed counterpart - and myself - Wulf’s the rightful ruler of some kingdom or other, denied his throne by an evil usurper. Unlike Ironjaw, he’s a nice boy who doesn’t bother others unless they bother him, spending his days juggling on street corners, with his semi-lame mentor.

But all the while he dreams of avenging his parents and reclaiming the title that’s rightfully his.

This thing’s so much better than the despicable Ironjaw that it’s hard to believe it’s created by the same species, let alone the same company.

The credit for this is entirely down to writer and artist Larry Hama. It might be harsh to suggest it but I’m not convinced that all who worked for Atlas were necessarily giving of their best. Hama, however, is clearly going for it and, as a result, the thing looks great, is properly structured and understands how to use flashbacks. It’s through these that we learn the youthful Wulf’s parents were slain by the troll army of sorcerer Mordek Mal Moriak - a pleasingly level-headed villain - and that Wulf has spent his life since preparing for the day when he’ll slay the wizard and reclaim his land.

Being sword and sorcery, it’s not exactly short of clichés but, still, it’s by far the best Atlas Comic I’ve read, mostly because, unlike most of their heroes, its protagonist is neither thug nor cannibal. If only all their heroes had been cut from the same cloth, you can't help feeling Atlas might have actually stood a chance.

2 comments:

Andrew Wahl said...

Steve:

I reviewed this one a couple months ago and was also impressed with it. Wulf was obviously a labor of love for Hama. FYI, for more on Atlas, make sure to check out Comic Book Artist #16. It's got some great interviews, including Hama talking about Wulf. You can read a couple of interviews from that publication here on the TwoMorrows site:

http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=56&products_id=532

Cheers!
Andrew

Aaron said...

I like the idea of him being a juggler/hero, I think that's kinda cool, makes him sort of an artist who has to make a living.

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