Comic Book Review: Barbarella and The Wrath of the Minute-Eater
When we talk about the most famous female comic book characters we almost immediately mention Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Batgirl. However, there is one major character who had her feet firmly planted in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and that character is Barbarella. Created by Jean-Claude Forest, this new collection sees the classic story translated by “Bitch Planet” and “Captain Marvel” writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.
After the events of the first book, Barbarella is now running the Circus Delirium featuring acts from all over the universe. It’s a popular attraction but the press is wondering what she has up her sleeve next. She promises something big and then Narval, an aquaman, shows up. He’s able to gain Barbarella’s trust and persuade her to take the circus to the planet Spectra so he get a mutation stone that will allow him to change into a human. Barbarella and her friends then get wrapped up in the time and space bending craziness of Spectra.
“Barbarella and the Wrath of the Minute-Eater” is very much a book of it’s time. Visually and story wise, this is off the wall science fiction that plays up on the free spirited nature of many people at this time. The Circus Delirium is true freedom with all kinds of races and species coming together to create a show of wonder. Forest’s art is not overly detailed but it’s well done. It’s very sexy but not sexualized and the newspaper strip style makes it feel even older than the year this was initially published. The plot is as science fiction as science fiction gets but it’s not difficult to follow.
Barbarella herself is an interesting character for many reasons. She’s the main character of the series which means she’s also our hero but she makes mistakes. She’s not perfect and she can get distracted fairly easily. There’s no idealized version of a female hero with “Barbarella”. Her sexuality is on full display but it’s handled like it’s not important. She’s often naked and will sleep with anyone she wants but never once does she come off as an object. She’s very comfortable with her body and is always in control of what she does with it. It’s far advanced even by many of today’s comics.
Kelly Sue DeConnick translates the original script and she does a really nice job making it easy to follow. She doesn’t insert a bunch of new slang terms because that would be silly. Instead she uses a modern sounding vocabulary but doesn’t skip out on the fun sci fi portions.
“Barbarella” is a very good read that should appeal to any science fiction fan, especially those looking to get into classic works. This is fun and full of huge sci fi concepts. It’s a book very much worth your time and money.