Chris's Reviews > Joe the Barbarian

Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison
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's review
Feb 22, 12

bookshelves: adventure, fantasy, graphic, ya, life

Meet Joe, a withdrawn, artistic young man with a father who died in the military and a mom who is too busy trying to make ends meet to have much time or energy left for Joe. A teen who is picked on at school, who lives in a large old house, who is diabetic and didn't eat his afternoon candy bar because it was taken by bullies; who wandered home in a fog, climbed to his attic bedroom, and collapsed into sleep; and who has just awoken to no electricity during a storm, vaguely realizing he is slipping into major hypoglycemia and is in danger of a diabetic coma if he doesn't act quickly.

Meet Joe, confused young man worshiped by everyone he meets in an ever-changing fantastical landscape as the prophesied "Dying Boy," their last chance of holding off Lord Death and all-consuming darkness. Who decides he will accept the quest to fight through innumerable enemies, geographical barriers, fatigue, and epic confusion, and will face the descent into darkness.

Joe walks between two worlds, not quite sure who he is, caught up in the confusion of his own hallucinations. A certain part of him seems to realize that his warrior companion Jack is simply his pet rat on his shoulder and the new waterfall descending from the heights is overflow running down the staircase after he left the bathtub tap running, but he can't deny the reality of the world he has been swept up in. To reach the main floor of his house, he will have to battle through as many forces as he can imagine, regardless of their reality. To restore power to his house, he will literally have to face down Lord Death and the power of his haunted psyche.

Never has a ten-minute struggle to climb down a few flights of stairs for a soda and the basement breaker-box been so epic.
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