Barack the Barbarian #1 is a Hilarious Adventure!

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In addition to solving our economic crisis, negotiating peace and understanding around the world and trying to improve our image overseas, President Barack Obama, or his beefed up likeness at least, is adding another duty to his agenda, thanks to Devil's Due Publishing, who has him starring in the Larry Hama written Barack the Barbarian, a mini-series debuting this week. The storytelling possibilities are wide-open with a title such as this. So how do Hama and company fare with Barack's first outing as a loincloth wearing adventurer? Surprisingly well! It's a good thing that the book doesn't take itself too seriously, as the story opens with Barack arriving in the city of Warshingtun, riding a donkey no less, only to be confronted by corruption, greed and the desire for influence at every turn. Hama has him navigating a pretty bleak and violent narrative in these first pages, drawn with appropriate campy realism by Christopher Schons, as a rugged Washington monument, with a dollar sign and an elephant on it, in the middle of everything, stands as the home to Boosh and his vizier Harry Burden, the object of scorn and worry for the forces of Hilaria and her followers. Barack soon finds himself having to make tough decisions with Manny the Fixer at his side, and he finds himself drawn into the battle against Boosh and Burden by Manny and others who are "desperate for a change." Hilarious moments follow, as Barack finds himself facing off with Hilaria, Red Sarah and The Old Warrior, all of which leads to a cliffhanger ending with Barack and others fighting their way through what looks to be very tough odds in a quest to get to the tower and reveal the "secret" that Boosh and Burden have under lock and key. The issue seems to mirror much of the early contest between Barack and Hillary, with allegiances being formed in the issue perhaps the same way they were formed in the actual Democratic Party! Some of the symbolism and dialogue feels a bit strained here, but I did find myself laughing aloud at parts of Hilaria's speech to her band of Amazonian supporters. The issue as a whole has some great pieces of dialogue and narrative to it, as we soon learn that this is a legend being told to a younger generation of listeners. There are a few times where the metaphor and the characterization of the piece get a bit heavy-handed and too obvious, but it is balanced nicely by certain scenes, particularly one involving the Lincoln Memorial. The violence in the piece is also presented in a way that will not turn off casual readers, who may be picking this book up only on the title alone. It really is about the story in this case and not the blood, which there is little of. Barack the Barbarian is even noted for his wit and wisdom early on, by none other than a potential foe! It will be interesting to see how far the next few issues of this will go, as the book takes great strides in setting up an adventure fraught with pitfalls, pundits, greased palms, and countless 'betcha's' from Red Sarah. Barack the Barbarian #1 succeeds because it lets itself be just what it is, a good piece of fun that anyone can pick up and enjoy.