Joe the Barbarian, so far through two issues, is shaping up as one of Grant Morrison's most straightforward and heartwarming series since We3. And Sean Murphy and Dave Stewart are simply amazing!
First off, check out this double-page spread....
You can click to enlarge it.
Color artist Dave Stewart should be getting tons of credit, as he adds a LOT to the proceedings, with the colors in this issue being extremely important.
As I mentioned earlier, this is striking in that it is very straightforward. Young Joe is going into shock and is beginning to hallucinate. Morrison and Murphy show the hallucination mixed with the "real" situation...
Murphy, once again, is simply brilliant on art duties.
I know there was some discussion that while Morrison made it clear that the house was important in #1, he didn't make it clear that the travel through the house was important. I don't know if I buy that, but even if I did, Morrison clears that right up in this issue...
The addition of the rat Jack as a character is a welcome one - the relationship between Joe and Hallucination Jack is quite endearing.
The dream world scenario is filled with strong adventure so far. An interesting mystery is what is the purpose of the phaser that Captain Picard gives Joe early in the issue. The phaser (or laser gun, whatever), when fired, APPEARS to do nothing, but surely there is something else going on there that we learn as the series goes on. What are your guesses to the purpose of the phaser, people?
I think Morrison is doing a fine job making Joe an endearing character that the readers should actually care about (working in his fears about his dead father was a particularly nice touch) - Murphy helps here, as well, as when Joe falls from the attic (as shown above), you can really feel his pain and his stark fear.
This has been a delightful series so far - and with six issues remaining, who knows where the story will go?