Review: ‘Barbarella,’ Holiday Special – Murder on the Christmas Planet

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Murder on the Christmas Planet

The Barbarella Holiday Special entitled ‘Murder on the Christmas Planet,’ is written by Jean-Marc Lofficer, with art and letters by Jose Luis Ruiz Perez,  colors from Bryan Westein, and is published by Dynamite Comics. This special is a campy comic that shows what happens when Barbarella has a stint as a detective on planet Christmas.

Located outside of the Zone of Effective Tellurian Influence (ZETI), the planet is home to a Christmas village owned and governed by Niklaus von Claus. But instead of happy children and their families running around a winter wonderland of Christmas, it’s home to the unsavory individuals of the solar system. Outside of laws, this neutral zone planet is above all things safe with killerbots enforcing anti-violence rules, but when there is a murder on the planet, von Claus calls Barbarella into action with the help of a special detective from the second wave of humans.

The writing is filled with campy humor and the interactions between detective Barbarella are sometimes the right level of camp and others times don’t quite land. But all in all the campy nature of the art and situations fit with what I knew about Barbarella coming into it, that is to say, the 1960’s science fiction romp of the same name which starred Jane Fonda in the titular role. There, Barbarella was an astronaut from the 41st century who set out to save the galaxy.

Here, Barbarella’s reputation precedes her, which lead von Claus to enlist her help in solving the first and only murder ever to have happened on the planet Christmas. As she and her partner Maxime Saint-Clair interrogate and fight the suspects who reveal secret identities and as the comic wraps up, the reveals have gotten the reader so used to them that the ending feels boring, leaving the only real climax was the one between Barbarella and Saint-Clair.

Although everything may feel a lot like Christmas for Saint-Clair, it didn’t for me. The are style is different, to say the least. The faces are intense and seem a little mismatched with the hypersexual bodies. Even Barbarella seems less like her sexy self, with the most gorgeous character in the story being a suspect. Given that the cover artist and the artist for the issue are the same, it’s a little underwhelming, with the cover showing a barebacked Barbarella with a femme fatale over the shoulder look.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted romp where little develops but you get to see a capitalist Santa Claus controlling killerbots, then go ahead and pick this up. But, if you’re looking for sexual innuendos with some substance check out some of Dynamite’s other mature titles.


Barbarella Holiday Special entitled 'Murder on the Christmas Planet
2.5

TL;DR

If you’re looking for a light-hearted romp where little develops but you get to see a capitalist Santa Claus controlling killerbots, then go ahead and pick this up. But, if you’re looking for sexual innuendos with some substance check out some of Dynamite’s other mature titles.