Thursday, June 30, 2016


I don't know how you pronounce that second "D"
Comics have a real love affair with the beedly-bogus mashup of science fiction and fantasy into a single world. There's really no end of stories involving sword-wielding paladins in Renaissance Faire gear hopping on skycycles and fighting ogres in the antechamber of a massive supercomputer hurtling through spacewarps.

These are stories which raise more questions than they answer, but that's what makes it so appealing that Bludd (The Ultimate Barbarian) handles it with some aplomb. Keeping its swords and sorceries well away from its spaceships and laser battle, with the title character acting as a sort of goodwill ambassador from the Dark Ages to the far future, works out pretty well in the long run. Well, the short run, anyway. This is a one-shot, after all.

I know a girl who has a little tape deck right in the middle of her
forehead and when she's beguiling she's very very obedient but when she's
savage, she's deadly. 
Bludd begins his career as the most axe-swingin'est warrior that the Danish armies of the Ninth Century have on tap. Fighting for a local warlord, Bludd also encourages his own :schliiitttt: (imagine that I just dragged my thumb across my neck when you read that sound) by overdoing it with the local wenches. Turns out that Bludd's boss Gunulfr (gesundheit) maintains a personal stock in local lady flesh and Bludd's repeated dipping into the inventory puts the whole market in disarray.

Despite being a hella good warrior, Bludd takes it on the run, disappearing in time and space when a time-displacement bomb is set off in the 31st century. Actually, I'm not sure that "when" is the right word, there. He gets shunted through time somewhat randomly, whatever the case.

(The means by which a time travel bomb brings Bludd to the future involves that most evil of early 1980s comics villains -- the radical student activist. In this case, this one has been living in devastated ruins for fifty years and nonetheless still planning the assassination of the Dean, but drops his time-travel bomb at the last second. Butterfingers! Bludderfingers!)

In the tyrannical future a thousand years from now, society is patrolled by robots under the command of a man whose skin resembles the color and texture of an old tomato -- Armageddon! The absolute ruler of the future was once a respected general, but a whole lot of radiation gave him super-strength and a mad pash for ruling the universe.

Oh for god's sake, you big baby, you're just getting your tonsils out.

Opposing him is his former second in command, Dreamseeker, also affected by radiation to the degree that he has telepathy and is basically just a head inside an egg-shaped toaster. Dreamseeker is assisted by the lovely Syren, a sort of computerized Real Doll and unfortunately the only female character in the book. I guess one of the benefits of a robotic love interest is that they don't talk and when they die dramatically so that the hero can avenge her, they just plug her back in afterwards and she sticks around. I wonder if that's what happened to all the actual women in the future, just callously snuffed one after the other to inspire their lovers to acts of great self-sacrifice. Seems right.

How Dreamseeker and Syren find out about the time-tossed barbarian is anyone's guess, but they quickly recruit him to their cause -- adding a laser beam to his helmet, so as to make him futuristic.

The sole issue of Bludd - a labor of love midwifed by Gene Day and Peter Hsu, among others - ends on a stalemate between the forces of good and evil, leaving much undiscussed. Primarily, I still don't get the whole thing with the student activist, but hey, pick a deus ex machina you love and run with it, I guess.

Because of how his tiny little arms can't reach all the way to his head. 

1 comment:

David Hanson said...

I like that his axe has a little matching hat.

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