Titan Comics 2016
Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Staz Johnson
Coloured by Rodrigo Fernandes
Lettered by Rob Steen
…And so, by the will of Odin, or by his own, Ragnar Lothbrok, has risen from a simple farmer in the town of Kattegat to a powerful king and one of the most feared of all Viking Raiders. Defying his naysayers, he has led the first raiders to England, where he finds a country ripe for plunder. Yet Ragnar’s plans extend beyond pillage; he has sought an alliance with the English King, Ecbert of Wessex, hoping to allow the Vikings permanent settlements on these fertile lands. But while his wife Aslaug struggles to maintain order in his stead, Ragnar has been made a potentially divisive offer by Ecbert…
There’s a reason this television programme has risen to attain cult following status. The writing, characters and characterization far surpass the fact that as bloody and violent as it is transports us to a time in our history we know so very little about. There’s a fascination and romanticism about it that not only the show but this series captures that keeps our minds moving and imagination soaring. Also it’s nice that in this era women were able to lead their people, fight alongside the men and play such vital roles in their society.
What i’m completely into here is Cavan’s writing. With not all of Ragnar’s men behind him, most noticeably Floki, and the English ready to betray their King and slay them there’s so much wonderful story unfolding and characterization happening here. I love that there are omens and portents seen in dreams and through characters, their devotion to their Gods and to each other is wonderfully done. The politicking here shouldn’t go unnoticed either as it marks at least Ragnar as more intelligent and forward thinking knowing their way of life cannot last forever. It’s these dueling qualities we find here that make for such fascinating reading.
Whether it’s realized or not the potential for betrayal from one of their own keeps us on the edge of our seats wondering when or even if it will happen. The betrayal of the King’s men however is much more predictable so that someone like Floki can bide their time and wait till enough is enough adds a delicious tension. I am however beginning to wonder if these reports to the King are even true or a ruse to lure the Norsemen to their doom.
Staz and Rodrigo do this absolutely magnificent work on the interiors. There’s a wonderful quality to the finished work that just capture the imagination and realism of what we see. From the wounds to the shading in the clothing, from the tattoo’s to the hairstyles everything they present has this quality to it that is unlike anything else we see in comics today. Also Staz has a brilliant eye for storytelling and how to use the pages and panels to show the right flow.
With as much tension and drama happening at home in their village as is happening with Ragnar and his group this is one of those series that serves to compliment the television programme and allow new reader to be introduced to the legends and longtime fans a new outlet to follow their beloved characters.