One and Done – Barbarians featuring Ironjaw #1

Gary Friedrich, Peter Wiechmann – Writer
Pablo Marcos, Jordi Bernet – Artist
Shelly Lefferman – Letters

Atlas/Seaboard as a publishing company did not stick around for very long and yet what they managed to release was just as good as anything Marvel or DC were doing at the time. Barbarians was to be an anthology title which sadly would only last one issue but what an issue it was. The lead story would star Iron Jaw who had just had a four-issue story in his own book and it finds the once-king encountering a bunch of mutants which is not a good thing. There has long been enmity between man and mutant and so it is that Ironjaw and these creatures come to blows with the former being taken, prisoner. Gary Friedrick pens this tale with Pablo Marcos making it look quite amazing and the two set their hero right in the middle of the mutant kingdom where its princess is looking for a little love of a physical sort. Ironjaw wants none of that and would rather have the beautiful girl he is being held prisoner with but when finding out that she has been used and abused by her mutant captors, it both repels him and sets his soul aflame. Ironjaw means to escape and make them pay and in the end, he does neither but he does end up in an arena where he wins and where he and the mutants come to an understanding, if not a respect for one another. A secondary tale entitled Andrax which had seen its beginnings in Primo Magazine, one of Rolf Kauka’s publishing ventures, written by Peter Wiechmann and drawn by the legendary Jordi Bernet would finally end up here, or at least the first half of his origin story. Andrax is a man named Michael Rush, a Decathlon competitor who would attend the 1976 Olympics and who would go on to win his sport. Enter a woman named Natasha who ends up kidnapping Rush, though he goes along willingly at first, for a mad doctor who believes that mankind is doomed, ruined by their own technology and needs a perfect specimen of a man for what he has planned. So it is that Rush is put into suspended animation and then awakened two thousand years later and renamed Andrax as his previous life is over. It is a world unlike any he has ever seen, barren of mankind, at least where he currently is, and filled with creatures and monsters. It is just a portion of a story and yet it is so captivating that one immediately wants more and it is a shame that none materialized after that. While it has been re-released in album editions in Germany and elsewhere, it would be nice to see Dark Horse perhaps pick it up and release some nice English-language hardcover editions of it as well as some new adventures for today’s audience as it is the perfect property calling out to be reprinted for a wider market. As for this title, this issue would be it and Ironjaw would find himself relegated to the annals of history, though he too would be a good property for someone to pick up and run with. One can only dream.

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