Barbalien’s Origin Revealed In ‘Red Planet’ Mini-Series From Dark Horse

by James Ferguson

We’ve seen different aspects of the Black Hammer universe explored in main series and tie-ins over the past few years from Dark Horse Comics. This June, Barbalien gets his turn with his own mini-series, Barbalien: Red Planet, a story about identity, survival, and the choices we make. Written by Tate Brombal and illustrated by Gabriel Hernández Walta, the comic tells the origin story of the warlord from Mars while also shining a light on the AIDS crisis.

Mark Markz has found a comfortable life on Earth as both a decorated police officer and as the beloved superhero, Barbalien. But when Mark is suddenly thrust onto the frontlines of the AIDS crisis, his role as a cop raises doubts and he must now reckon with his own closeted sexuality. Growing tensions make balancing his disparate identities seem impossible—especially when a Martian enemy from his past hunts him down on Earth to take him home, dead or alive. Heroism, privilege, and complacency are all called into question, as Mark becomes more-and-more embroiled in the activism of the time and with the man leading its charge—the handsome and headstrong Miguel.

Barbalien: Red Planet is planned as a five-issue mini-series. The first issue is set for release on June 24th, 2020.

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