Barbarella #1
Written by: Mike Carey
Art by: Kenan Yarar and Mohan
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment

Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

My knowledge of Barbarella is slim to none. I barely remember the film, which I last watched in the early 90’s, so I really just remember it being a weird sixties movie based on a comic book that I never read. I know the group Duran Duran got their name from the film – a character named Durand Durand. I also know that Jane Fonda is topless in an early scene. So as a 12 year old who thought Jane Fonda was gorgeous, I found this to be the best part of the film. That was about the only good part of the film. I love cheesy films and cheesy sci-fi but there was something about Barbarella that never appealed to me.

So with an extremely hazy memory of the 60’s film and zero knowledge of the original source material I went into Dynamite’s Barbarella #1 extremely fresh.  Did it help?  I will say that I enjoyed myself and the story quite a bit.  I’m not sure how it deviates from the source material and, if it does, if it’ll piss Barbarella fans off, but I personally enjoyed it a ton.  I really liked the artwork by Kenan Yarar here and I think that was a big help.  Yarar has a modern Moebius-like quality to his artwork that I loved from the moment I saw it.

I’ll also state right away that this is no comic for kids.  The cover tells you Mature and for good reason.  Most of the plot of this book is actually sexual in nature.  From the actual story to boobs to some lesbian action, this one may not be for the kids.  But what do I know?  As a kid I used to read Omaha the Cat Dancer.

The plot: Barbarella finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time as her spaceship is captured by these super religious jerk types.  They immediately find Barbarella guilty of having a vagina.  Yup.  No sex organs for these people.  She is sentenced to prison and the removal of her vagina.  No joke.  Very glad to see that Republican religious types have finally made it out of orbit.  There’s a new comic idea: REPUBLICANS…IN SPACE!!!  Barbarella doesn’t need to get to used to her surroundings as she swore to break out, regain her vagina, and take on the Space Republicans.  It being Barbarella, what else would you expect?

The plot is pretty damn sexual but so was the movie – even for a sixties film. I’m sure the French comic is more of the same. I was a bit surprised to find nudity and sex in the book but I’m not put off by these things. Perhaps writer Mike Carey thought it necessary because Barbarella is quite a sexual character. It doesn’t add to the plot one bit but throwing some sex in there is never so bad.  I thought Carey did a great job with this first issue as I immediately cared about this character who is at the mercy of these Republican space jerks. I think the present situation in America, with women being told by crusty old white men what they can or cannot do with their bodies, helps add to my enjoyment of the book. It’s more timely then ever which is a damn shame. I’m sure the content was also timely 50 years ago but we seem to be going backwards when it comes to womens’ rights.

With a great script and superb artwork, Barbarella #1 is some super sexy space fun. I dug it a lot and can’t wait to see where the book goes from here.

RATING: A

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