Titan Comics 2016
Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Daniel Indro
Coloured by Kevin Enhart
Lettered by Jim Campbell
An uprising of escaped slaves led by Colum is striking back against their former masters, and Ragnar’s ex-wife Lagertha leads an offensive to deal with them. Meanwhile in Kattegat, Ingolf, a disgruntled survivor of one of Colum’s raids, has cursed Ragnar and all of his kin…
Ragnar’s adventures in Paris have left him a scarred man and that has spilled over to how his subjects think of him as their King. This is the story of how he deals with all of that and it isn’t pretty but it’s strong and powerful. It has strong characterisation and story development show us a complex man who has fallen prey to his own desires. The desire to rule and have songs sung about him and the glory of what he’s accomplished. All that however is now under scrutiny and he begins to wonder if what kind of songs they’ll actually sing about him.
What Cavan does here is absolutely amazing. It paints the portrait of a man so complex and insightful full of both bravery, bravado and aware of his own sins. This is the kind of storytelling that captivates readers with its subtle complexity and relatability. While the focus is on Ragnar himself that doesn’t mean that we don’t see how all this affects those around him, his second wife and his son for instance. We see how his actions play across their faces as they stand by and believe in the man who he is. Though that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for more storytelling there because with his wife there’s plenty. She’s become too accustomed to ruling in his absence and relishes that role.
Meanwhile Lagertha and her team are out to quell the uprising of the slaves that now claim to be free men. Sometimes we forget the era in which this takes place and this section of the story beautifully reminds us of that in all its bloody glory. She was once Ragnar’s wife and she understands the rule of the land and being who she is won’t upset the way things are done. So she comes across coldhearted and bloodthirsty but in reality she’s merely behaving like one does in this time.
Again the story that Cavan delivers on all counts can at times shock you while also educating you that these are a people living in a time that we aren’t that familiar with personally. There’s an honest brutality here that sinks into the bones of its readers. A reminder that the Vikings had a reputation and the actions that they took which brought that about to begin with. Besides this isn’t exactly different from what other nations are doing at the same time it’s just done more honestly, without duplicity.
Daniel and Kevin do some utterly gorgeous work on these interiors. They really bring us the emotion we need to see and feel about the actions that are being taken. The attention to detail in these characters and the backgrounds are marvelous to look at. The use of page layouts through angles and perspective make this worthy of the quality of cinematography that the tv series brings.
This is the kind of storytelling that might not change the course of rivers but will change how you look at these characters and the world they live in.