American Barbarian is a gleeful homage to comics great Jack Kirby by way of the post-apocalyptic barbarian genre – with robotic dinosaurs, a Pharaonic immortal with tanks for feet, and a red-white-and-blue-haired barbarian who must fight them all.
Thomas Scioli's American Barbarian opens in a distant future, where human barbarians live in tenuous peace beside noble dinosaurs and the brilliant scientists of the Moving City. The warrior Yoosamon and his many sons – notably his youngest and strongest son Rick – protect their home kingdom, but a new threat is on the move: the Two-Tank Omen. (Say it aloud a few times.) Soon Rick finds himself the chief defender of the wasteland against the Two-Tank Omen's ever-growing horde.
Scioli blends Kirby-influenced art and conventions with 1970s futurism and the landscape of the more dystopic Saturday morning cartoons – along with his own experiments with art and pacing. But the key driver in American Barbarian is an unrestrained joy, a celebration of the sometimes goofy, often over-the-top action comics without descending into parody.
Scioli has created a world where it makes perfect sense for Rick to battle an army of robot dinosaurs, or stand up to a tank-footed giant holding only a sword, or for all the American barbarians to have that ridiculous hair.