This month, the siren of space and the Princess of Mars must navigate their way through a horrific battle to figure out how they are meant to help an entire undersea kingdom!
This issue continues the exquisite banter between Barbarella and Dejah, which brings to mind the chemistry between John Steed and Emma Peel in the classic British Avengers series. The two of them are finally viewing one another as equals rather than rivals, but there’s still a friendly kind of ribbing at one another’s expense that makes the action sequences even more delightful.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that they’re both comfortable enough in themselves and with each other to indulge in a little bit of flirtation. “Talk diplomat to me,” indeed, Barbarella. The chemistry between the two characters is exceptional and what’s better, it never feels exploitative. It’s entirely earned.
It’s great to see that even though our two heroines still don’t entirely understand the goal they should be looking for (yet), they’re acutely aware of the gravity of their mission. The detective work on display is impressive, continuing on some of my favorite aspects of the first few issues. I love that Barbarella is portrayed as more of an investigator in this series than she normally is, making her a perfect match for Dejah Thoris, who is a legitimate genius. Leah Williams takes great care to build off of what we traditionally know about these characters and to show them adapting to brand new situations.
The only moment that gets a little muddy for me in this issue is Barbarella and Dejah’s escape toward the end of the book. It feels like something is either glossed over or unexplained in the sequence, but it’s not too off-putting, considering the story here moves along at a fast clip. Also, it kind of works with the kind of unexplained “timey-wimey” stuff the gals have already encountered in this miniseries.
German Garcia’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous, especially during the expansive battle scenes. Everything looks purposefully otherwordly in a way that sets it apart from the far future trappings we know from previous Barbarella stories and the steampunk-esque design aesthetic of Dejah’s adventures.
There are also a few especially brilliant moments, like in the page above, where the panel layout draws the readers’ eyes to something of interest to one of our two heroes. It allows smaller moments to stand out amidst the impossibly-large spaceships and giant insect men.
The final pages reveal a new twist to Dejah and Barb’s mission that I won’t spoil here. Rest assured, this battle just got a whole lot more personal for Dejah, and it will be interesting to see how Barbarella’s logical side processes it. Suffice it to say that there may be an unspoken “vs.” in the title of this miniseries, but we shall see!
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