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Barb Wire (Dark Horse Comics) with a shotgun

Barb Wire

(Comic book version) (part #2)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This article is part #2, wot *directly* follows .


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History (continued)

Thanks to a lasting truce between the gangs, Steel Harbor became more peaceful. Barb seized this swell of cautious optimism, and had another go at developing her bar. She hired a new, better staff – including an assistant manager, the punk-chic Lacy. She even shot commercials broadcast on local channels.

Barb soon moved the Hammerhead Bar and Grille to a better location, in a former industrial warehouse on Harbor Drive at Industrial Way. The new Hammerhead became the quasi-official neutral zone of the city and the premier watering hole in town. It drew in large and mixed crowds, and was treated as a DMZ  by the SHPD.

Ace of spades

Though her business was finally making money, Barb felt miserable. It was far too much work and took too much time. She was particularly annoyed when having to play hostess for wealthy and influential locals slumming in her bar. She also suspected that when violence would return, it would happen at the Hammerhead.

As business boomed and her temper got worse, Barb alienated every single one of her friends. She was increasingly self-centred and used people. In particular the Machine left, never to return.


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This played right into the mysterious plans of an unrevealed interest, who sent a new Deathcard (this one a woman) as its agent. Deathcard II expertly set every power player in Steel Harbor against all the others. She convinced most that Barb Wire had always been a double agent on their enemies’ payroll.

The brutally re-ignited gang war. With Deathcard II stroking the flames the crisis left dozen of corpses lying across town. It also seriously damaged the Hammerhead. Barb Wire realised that for once she hadn’t been the one who was two steps ahead of the opposition. Worse, that she had lost sight of her own better human qualities and frienships.

Unknown legend

Coincidentally, in Arcadia, Ghost was also having a rough time. She contacted Barb Wire, hoping to talk. Barb seized the occasion, bought her a bike and took her on a road trip. They eventually ran into trouble with fellow bikers. Ghost soon realised that these served one of her enemies.

Barb decided to get involved in odd events in the creepy, eerie burg of Black Heart, Nebraska. This was a trap set by a demonic foe of Ghost, and the place soon became an utter nightmare. They attempted to flee, but were overwhelmed.

Barb Wire in the renovated Hammerhead Bar and Grille

The renovated Hammerhead Bar & Grille.

Ghost came to realise that these gory horrors and hallucinations had been set to exploit her weaknesses. They were magically keyed to her neuroses about men. Thus, she intuitively realised that she could disrupt them by stepping outside of her own fixation on gender roles. She achieved this by giving a flabbergasted Barb Wire a big long kiss, breaking the abominable spell.

The pair was left in a particularly awkward situation. They rode away in separate directions. However, they soon got over it.

When they saw each other again, Barb Wire had been captured by Mister Borazzon’s mob. Borazzon, one of Ghost’s enemies, was a creepy crime lord with a medical condition and a brutally ruthless nature. Though Borazzon was amply prepared for Ghost’s special abilities, she found a way to blow up everything. She sent him and his flunkies to Hell while rescuing Barb.

Barb felt humiliated by her capture, and was creeped out by the supernatural horrors unleashed by Ghost to defeat Borazzon. They awkwardly parted ways again.

The rent is too damn high

(The 2015 series seems to take place a relatively short time after Ace of Spades (published in 1996) – perhaps a year or two. Yet, it is clearly the 2010s in term of tech, language, etc..)

Barb Wire continued her work. The Hammerhead inched into the black despite her so-so financial skills. She also developed more income and rep by having a camera crew film her work as a bail enforcement agent.

However, the area around the Hammerhead gentrified, and the landlord cashed out. This would likely make the rent too damn high. The network also wanted to see superhuman action on Barb’s segments, as the super-gangs had been relatively quiet in recent months.

Though she hated arresting superhumans, Barb was forced by her poor finances to set her sights on one “Wyern Stormblüd”. This man was a super-strong alcoholic with probable brain damage. He acted like an incoherent, bargain-basement Thor.

Hunter provided her with information and a power-neutralising pistol. But as it turned out, Barb had been manipulated by the super-gangs to do their dirty work. They forcibly took custody of Stormblüd right after she perilously captured him.

Mace even used part of the money to buy the block the Hammerhead was on. However, he let the bar keep on running and didn’t raise the rent much. He also leveraged these events to order his gang not to attack Barb Wire. That was despite mounting pressure caused by her bounty-hunting activities.

Back to the Machine

The power-neutralising pistol used to took down Stormblüd had actually been sent by the Machine via Hunter. It was a trap laid by the Machine for the Federal forces who had been hounding him for years. As he hoped, they arrested Barb Wire, threatened her with extraordinary rendition , then forced her to hunt down the Machine. Avram had Hunter leak his location to Barb.

The Machine was apparently planning to kill all pursuers to stop their efforts. But Barb Wire interfered and kidnapped the special agent in charge. This convinced the Machine to stop fighting and explain what he could do to the Federal government if they didn’t let go of their hunt.

A deal was reached, the Machine left town again, and Barb went bowling.


Description

Barb is the very model of the scorching blonde. Being a biker, she dresses in jeans and leather, with cowboy boots  and a low-cut black top (or a black leather bra  (NSFW)). She always wears big black shades and racing gloves. She is a left hander, with a barb wire tattoo on her left upper arm.

Originally she was drawn like a typical comic book super-heroine. Then it was decided to draw her more like a body-builder to make her more distinctive. Since Barb Wire vol. 1 ended at this point it never fully materialized, except for a B&W concept sketch (the one with the big revolver in her left hand).

She did look markedly more muscular in her Ghost appearances, but not later on.

Other features

Barb expressed disappointment at her voice not being deeper and at “sounding like a girl”. Which I assume means she has a normal voice.

After the movie was released, Barb started resembling Pamela Anderson. That was gone by her 2010s return.

By 2015, Barb is usually wearing typical biker/metalhead clothing – tight black leather pants, black T-shirts with a metal band logo, bandanna, big leather boots, etc.. It occasionally approximates her old leather outfits with a leather bustier, but generally it’s more covering.

As a 21-year old, Barb looked more like a grunge rocker or punk rocker than a biker or a metalhead.


Personality

A fiercely independent, bold, headstrong, steel-willed, bounty hunting biker babe who takes crap from nobody and always stays at least two steps ahead of the game.

Barb is a rough and direct skip tracer. She’s tough, independent, hot-tempered and strong-willed – ’cause she was born, born to be wild.

She hates being called by her birth name and aggressively prefers “Barb” or “Barb Wire”. She eventually made “Barb Wire” her legal name.

Though her manner is often forceful, Barb’s friends are loyal toward her. She is charismatic, she genuinely cares about her friends, and she will unhesitatingly help them even against bad odds. Furthermore she is open-minded and fearless. This lets her treat terrifying entities such as the Machine, Ghost or Motorhead as persons and earn their friendship.

Barb Wire and Ghost looking silently at each other

Barb Wire doesn’t like contracts involving superhumans. Even the low-powered ones can be very dangerous. She particularly hates the supernatural foes and psychic weirdness her friend Ghost deals with. There’s usually nothing a normal person can do against those. And though superhumans earn Barb a good cheque, the supernatural usually brings no reward.

Though she acts macho and likes all sorts of manly things, Barb isn’t emotionally repressed. She is open about her emotions and can act in a sensitive, kind manner when appropriate. This is especially true with her friends who live in terrible circumstances, such as Ghost or the Machine. She also knows she’ll usually be the only person courageous enough to be there for them.

Weaknesses, part 1

Barb Wire is an adrenaline junkie. If she does not see action for too long, she’ll gradually ramp up her training and sparring time and subconsciously look for trouble.

She is also very goal-oriented and somewhat self-centred. For instance she has come to regard Charlie more as support personnel, employee and frustrating weirdo than as a person. This annoys him – and her, whenever she realises she has been sliding back into that habit. According to her brother, Barb divides the world into three kinds of people – employees, customers and Barb Wire.

After opening the new Hammerhead, her self-centred streak got much wider. She leveraged her charisma to just use people and boss employees around. She treated her friends as means to an end without quite realising it. This wrecked many of her friendships and connections.

She eventually came to realise this, and has since rebuilt most bridges.

Weaknesses, part 2

Barb famously hates being called “babe” or “honey” or “chick” or “chiquita” or anything along those lines. This instantly puts her in a hostile mood and can easily result in violence – or have her engage a superhuman she’d normally cautiously avoid. One scene vaguely implies that this reflex is tied to her bad breakup with Hunter.

Barb Wire (Dark Horse Comics) in 2015 with her crew

Though she’s still young, Barb Wire lives in an idealized heavy-metal-and-chromed-hogs past. She’s out of touch when it comes to fashions, ways of speaking, technology, online cultures, etc.. She took forever to get a cell phone.

As she progresses through her 30s, Wire also becomes frustrated that she’s working all the time and doesn’t have much of a life. She’s also going longer on the booze and cigarettes than before.

Youth

At 21-ish, Barb was significantly brasher, prouder and bull-headed – and even less risk-averse.

She was out to prove herself a badass no matter what – no compromises, and little common sense.


Quotes (1990s)

“Don’t call me ‘babe’.”

“This was cleared with the commissioner. There was a check for a hundred K waiting for me here, to be turned over on delivery of this creep.”

“Button up the club ! And shoot anybody who comes near my cars !”

(About superhuman criminals) “Anyway I don’t want to take on any of those flying, fire-breathing wackos anymore.”

“I’ll pick up Hurricane Max for you, but only for *legitimate* bond recovery. None of this ‘dead or alive’ crap.”

Barb Wire (Dark Horse Comics) in 2015, bowling

“As a concerned citizen of Steel Harbor, I’m placing you under arrest. And I don’t want to see any of those freaks of yours move a muscle.”

“Okay… Smitty, is it ? You’re going to tell us what we want to know, aren’t you ? Because if you don’t, I’m going to let my friend use her guns. Smitty, do you want me to let my friend use her guns ?”

Hunter (getting angry at Barb): “Oh — so you the Man, huh ?”
Barb Wire (even angrier): “More man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get !”

“There has to be an easier way to run a bar.”

(Plunged into a really creepy and supernatural nightmare, turning toward Ghost) “Damn it ! What do I do here !? Who do I kill ?”


Quotes (2010s)

Assistant manager of the Hammerhead: “Business is killin’ it. We are mad trending.”
Barb Wire: “That gibberish indicates good news, yes ?”
Assistant manager (amused): “Welcome to the 21st century, granny.”

“Don’t forget there’s a *truce* in place. There haven’t been any crew beefs in months. Let’s keep it that way, ‘kay ?”

Mace Blitzkrieg: “Come now, Barbara. Enough of this bickering. Let us drink together.”
Barb: “Not in the mood.”
Mace: “I’m buying.”
Barb (immediately ordering): “Macallan 25 . Double.”

“Every kid with a phone probably had you up on snap-insta-chat-face or some damn thing !”


DC Universe History

Barb could have operated for years in Blüdhaven, which has a feel that is not too dissimilar to Steel Harbor. She would have fitted well within the Nightwing solo series in the late 1990s.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Barb Wire

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Bounty Hunter, Bar Owner
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 023 HP: 035

Powers:
Superspeed: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Superspeed is only usable for Mental Tasks using Gadgetry (Identify Gadgets).
  • Superspeed is a Skilled Power.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 05, Charisma*: 06, Detective (Legwork): 06, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 05, Martial artist (incl. Techniques): 06, Medicine (First aid): 04, Thief (Stealth): 05, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 07, Weaponry: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Gadgetry (Identify Gadget) is limited to weapons and vehicles.
  • Gadgetry (Identify Gadget) is limited to equipment that is physically operated/aimed/driven (rather than programmed or some such).

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Steel Harbor), Confidant (Charlie), Familiarity (Bowling, Vehicular mechanics and maintenance), Headquarters (Expansive – the Hammerhead), Iron Nerves, Language (Might speak a little Polish), Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
Motorhead (Low), the Machine (High), Street (High), Steel Harbor Police Department (Low), Ghost (Low), King Tiger (Low), Hunter of the Wolf Gang (Low), Biker scene (Low), Mace Blitzkrieg (Low).

Drawbacks:
Debt 2 (operating the Hammerhead Bar & Grille), Serious Irrational Dislike of being called “babe” or similar.

Equipment:
1990s Barb Wire is, as she would probably put it, a well-equipped girl. As a bounty hunter she uses a lot of specialised gear. Her core equipment is :

  • Shades [BODY 02, Shade: 02].
  • Biking leathers [BODY 05, Skin armour: 02, Limitation: Skin armour only vs. most motorcycles crashes]. Of course, Barb never lands on her belly, and all the exposed skin does not diminish the protective quality of her leathers in the least.
  • Colt M1911A1 Argentine Modelo 1927 .45 ACP (x2) [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 07, R#02]. I would assume she packs two or three extra clips.
  • “Tracer bullets” aka “smart bullets” [BODY 02, Radio communications (tracking signal only): 08, Ammo: 08, Limitation: Ammo for the .45].
  • Armoured Indian 841 [STR 04 BODY 08, Running: 06, R#02].
  • Handcuffs [BODY 05], perhaps 3 pairs.
  • TRACER IMPLANT [BODY 01, Radio communications (tracking signal only): 06].

Extended Equipment:
This gear is more mission-specific, and she has stocks of those stored in her vehicles and at the bar.

  • Modified Mossberg 500 Tactical pump-action shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun blast (Range: 03): 06, Ammo: 06, R#02, Drawback: Very long reload time].
  • Smith & Wesson .44 magnum M29 with 6,5” barrel [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02].
  • Holdout magnum revolver [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Range: 04, Ammo: 05, R#02].
  • Savage over/under 12-gauge shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun blast (Range: 03): 06, Ammo: 02, Drawback: Long reload time].
  • Ingram M10 .45 machine pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02, Advantage: Autofire].
  • Jim Bowie-type fighting knife [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Sharpness (EV): 01, Descriptor: Piercing].
  • H&K UMP45 [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].
  • Line spool and trailing bullet [BODY 04, 4 APs long line].
  • Shotgun mike [BODY 01, Extended hearing: 04, R#02].

Special-purpose Equipment:
This is gear that is built by Charlie and is chiefly intended to give Barb the necessary edge when engaging superhumans (which she hates to do).

  • “Sleepers” – [BODY 02, Lightning (Bashing Only, 1 AP Area of Effect): 08, Ammo: 01, Telescopic vision:01, R#03].
  • Power-dampening goggles [BODY 02, Neutralise: 12, Do nothing: 09, Limitations: Neutralise only affects the subject the goggles have been fitted on (-2)].

2015-2016 Equipment:
The high-end equipment has generally vanished. Ignore the previous gear, and use the following :

  • High-concentrate pepper spray [Chemical Attack: 06, Ammo: 04, Range: 01, Advantage: Scattershot, Autofire, Limitation: Chemical Attack has no Range, use the listed Range instead].
  • SIG P228 [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 13, R#02].
  • TACTICAL VEST [BODY 04, Invulnerability: 05, Skin armor: 02, Limitation : Invulnerability and Skin armor only vs bullets and slashing and piercing weapons ; Real Armour].
  • High-end flash-bang grenade [BODY 01, EV 02 (Area of effect 1 AP), Flash: 06 (Area of effect 2 APs), Sensory block (Audial): 07, Note : all Powers are Combined, Grenade drawback, R#03].

Previous stats

The listed Connections are for Barb at her height. After the new Hammerhead opens she wrecks most of those with her crappy attitude, especially with the Machine, Hunter, Charlie and the SHPD. She has rebuilt them since, but her Connection with the Machine remains Low and she has no way to reach him.

Also, her Wealth increases to 006 after the new Hammerhead starts operating and becomes a source of revenue rather than a constant drain. This doesn’t last for long, though.


Charlie

Apparent stats for Charlie during the 1990s are a Gadgetry Skill around 06, an Expertise in Vehicular Mechanics and Weapon Systems, Extended hearing: 02, Genius, and a SPR (Blind).

By 2015 he simply has Gadgetry: 05, a SPR (Blind), a MIA (Alcohol) and perhaps some technical Familiarities and Expertises. The Genre now uses the realistic Gadgetry rules.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Rafael Sant’anna Meyer, Pufnstuff, Capita_Senyera, Darci.

Source of Character: Dark Horse’s Comics Greatest World (CGW) books and related appearances.


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