Oni Press 2015
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Joelle Jones
Coloured by Nick Filardi
Years have passed since Rikard stood in defiance against the witches Bera and Groa. In defeating the spae-women, Rikard saved his people but lost his life. And yet he cannot rest. Denied the promise of Valhalla, the warrior is condemned to wander the living world as an undead draugr.
Why don’t we get more stories that focus on Norse Viking Mythology? Granted Thor’s ever prevelant but there’s more to Norse Viking History than just the Asgardian’s. The witches and the Draugr and the Valkyrie all of them work in this story tell a tale of the people that lived in this time that we know so little about. They are master seafarers and they are mighty warriors, fiercely protective and loyal to a fault so why is this something we see so little of? Thank the stars that Cullen and Oni Press and getting Joelle invovled in all this because this is some first class adventure style storytelling.
Joelle and Nick do some extraordinary work here as well. With Rikard being so gray washed and the Valkyrie shining in gold and both so exceedinly well depicted you can really get lost in the visual part of the fight, so much so that you may have to go back and really read it.
While the fighting is essential reading it really only tells part of the story and with a man like Reavil his death doesn’t end the threat he posed. Cullen manages to write an epic fight sequence with all the players playing their part in defeating the current darkness. But as it often is the end of one thing is often just the beginning of something else. For the dialogue and characterization that follows the fight reveals that this isn’t the end of their story it still has a chapter or two still yet to be told.
Sigrid is no longer possessed by the Valkyrie but her story does not end here in fact there’s something about her that gets revealed that begs for further explanation. Meanwhile Kadlin and Brand talk while Rikard travels onward to what is to come next and in reading the bones it seems that Kadlin holds more secrets than she wishes to reveal. She knows more than she lets on even to Brand and while Rikard makes his journey for the knowledge he seeks it may be that the answers he looks for are where he started and awaiting his return to those who await him.
There is so much more going on between the lines than you can imagine and while some secrets are best kept others will only be revealed when the right time approaches.
For me each mini-series has been like watching a season of some award winning worthy show on Netflix or the like. Each issue packs in so much characterization, action and story so that you are so invested in it before you realize what’s happened. And with the end of each season you eagerly anticipate the next one to start. Cullen has found his voice as one of the industries premiere storytellers with this book and it continues to shine in everything he does.