Joe the Barbarian #3
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Sean Murphy
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Todd Klein
Released March, 17 2010
I picked up the first two issues of Joe the Barbarian mostly because of writer Grant Morrison‘s name on the cover, because anything he writes is at least worth checking out. What I found after reading those first two issues was that I should have paid more attention to the other name on the cover, artist Sean Murphy.
The first two issues have been feasts for the eyes, but the story of a boy venturing to a fantasy land populated by his toys has left me fairly cold. With this Issue #3, Morrison steps back on the crazy amount of info thrown at the reader, and it results in the best issue of the series so far. There were a lot of names and places tossed out to the reader without any context to place them in, so we were left with a story I’ve seen before. This issue focuses on a few characters, explains more of what is going on, and made me appreciate the first two issues more. It’s something that you have to deal with in a lot of projects that Morrison works on. A lot of times, he will flood the first few issues of a story with info that is important later, but you have to wait for that point where everything becomes clear. I finally get what this series is about, and I’m now very excited to see where it goes.
If the story hasn’t excited me in the first few issues, the art was always able to hold my attention, and Sean Murphy continues to shine on this issue. The detail in Murphy’s art makes the world feel authentic. Even though we know this is a fantasy world (for most of the issue) the little details make the world feel real. A large part of this issue takes place in a dwarven city and every panel feels like it is a world I could find if I ventured into the sewers. If you’re looking for a reason to pick up this series, look no further than Murphy’s art.
Based on the first three issues, I think this is going to be a great story once it’s finished, so I’d recommend waiting for the whole series to be collected. This is one of those mini-series that I wish would just be released as a graphic novel instead of breaking it down to the arbitrary 22-page chapters needed for monthly release. It just makes sense to read it all as one book.
That said I’m giving this issue 5 out of 5.