Comics: Barbarella #3 - Reviewed

Created by Jean-Claude Forest and first premiering in the French V Magazine in 1962, Barbarella was one of the first adult or pornographic comic books. The character Barbarella would have various sci-fi space adventures that would eventually involve some type of sexual act. Dino De Laurentiis purchased the film rights to the comic and Barbarella was released in 1968, directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda. While it was generally praised for its strong visual style and cinematography, most agreed that the story was very week.It is now considered a cult classic. Many attempts and adaptations have failed, up until the new Barbarella series from Dynamite Entertainment.

Issue 3 is the final part of a three story arc that sees Barbarella on the planet Parosia, where a war has been raging for a long time. Captured and imprisoned by the Parosian police, she meets Agent Jury Quire and learns of her secret mission and the way that the government treats its citizens. Deciding to assist Quire with her mission, they escape from imprisonment and meet her contact Pendrum. Pendrum has alternate plans than what Barbarella or Jury were expecting, planning to destroy the planet with a weapon of war. Issue 2 ends on a major cliffhanger, leaving us concerned for the fate of Barbarella. In issue 3, Barbarella must locate Pendrum and Jury and stop the missiles, in order to save the planet from depopulation.

The story from Mike Carey is interesting, mixing the timely issues of war and politics into a sci-fi environment. It's a common theme that is frequently used in the genre, but it works. There is a great deal of action and humor throughout each issue. While the book is rated mature, there isn't much contained in it that would be considered offensive. There is some mild nudity and implied sexuality, which is nothing compared to the scenes contained in the original Watchmen series.

The art from Kenan Yar focuses on line work and dynamic action scenes with the characters. Yar's style is reminiscent of art that you would see in the classic Heavy Metal magazines form the '70s. If the pages were completely black and white, you definitely would think that it could have come from that era. The colors from Mohan don't necessarily stand out, but there are some nice highlights and effects done that add a little bit of flare to it.

It's hard to say who this actually appeals to. It's a sci-fi adventure, so it may appeal to sci-fi fans. The question is whether this will appeal to a female reader. Honestly, I don't know. Barbarella is a strong female character who travels the universe helping people and saving planets. Yet her whole backstory is based on her the exploration of sex and also using it as a tool to further her missions. So far, that aspect is a very minor part of this version of the character.

Barbarella was a surprising read. I honestly went in with low expectations and ended up being moderately pleased.