Black Fin: The Barbarian Shark (#1) – Andy Duggan

3 out of 5

See the axe-wielding, anthropomorphic shark on the cover, yelling “It’s feeding frenzy time!” beneath some Conan-styled title font and the subtitle referencing a barbarian? Is there any question as to what this comic will be about?

And supposing you cracked the covers, intrigued by writer / artist Andy Duggan’s solid, 00s-era Marvel / DC art, dashed with more (comical) blood and guts than that era and those publishers would’ve allowed for, you’d likely be well satisfied by the contents: Black Fin is, indeed, an axe-wielding barbarian, and chops people in half and munches on them in arena battles, then retreats to women and drink in celebration.

I won’t say “that’s it,” because it’s not, but… that’s mostly it. Black Fin has more of a personality than that, and the women and drinking are a front for a Warrior Of The People persona – which only really makes sense in these type of ra-ra beat-em-ups – and then there’re more impressive battles and lore to explore when a sorcerer with a mutant army comes to town, but… that’s mostly it.

Black Fin is a good time. It’s well arted, competently written, and gives us just enough story to make it more than the one-trick pony of the cover; certainly enough to merit further issues.