Titan Comics 2016
Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Staz Johnson & Richard Elson
Coloured by Rodrigo Fernandes
Lettered by Rob Stee
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 led the first raiders to England, finding a country ripe for plunder. Now, years later, Ragnar’s plans extend beyond pillage; he has sought an alliance with King Ecbert of Wessex, hoping to allow the Vikings permanent settlements on these fertile lands. But the alliance is an uneasy one and there are those, on both sides, who would see it torn asunder…
If you haven’t been a part of the cultural phenomena well here’s your chance to see what the buzz is all about. This story takes place between seasons two and three of the show and yet it’s easy accessible to new readers and longtime fans alike. Also there’s a guide to who’s who, with cast photo, so you know the characters in general terms before reading this which is rather helpful.
This is great for a myriad of reasons and chiefly among them is the way Cavan is writing this issue. It’s immediately clear who the Vikings are by nature and we get a nice narration and the sense of betrayal and mistrust among one of them. The opening narration really got to me and made me want to read more here. I think it’s one of those underrated or often misused tools in comics but Cavan nails it in the fact that along with the imagery we listen in on thoughts that really set a tone for what’s to come.
I’m also very much into the fact that this seems to be a time when minds are expanding and at least Ragnar is trying to understand the Christians while still carving a niche out for himself. While the Christians of this time are notorious for killing those who won’t convert the Vikings are too strong willed and skilled fighters to be cowered by that. The resistance to living among those that believe differently is a strong theme here and seeing the two sides trying to work side by side, seemingly biding their time till a coup can happen is the kind of tension that needs to be felt here. It comes across wonderfully too.
The amount of characterization we get here is surprising. A lot of characters are covered and we see enough to get a good feel for all of them. There are plenty of moments that can focus on future plot points or those side stories that flesh a world out more fully. Overall what we get is a stellar first issue that really delves into things feet first and is as unyielding and relentless as the Vikings are famed for being.
Staz, Richard and Rodrigo wow. First Staz lays out the groundwork here and really shows he’s a fan of the series or a darn good researcher. The characters, their dress, their scars, tattoo’s and anything else you can think of are amazingly well detailed. What happens back at home however has a more traditional feel but ya know it’s nice that the separation is that noticeable. These Vikings though gosh darn they make these guys as hot, sexy, dangerous and desirable as you can possibly imagine on the page. With the style and work i’d love to see more time spent on backgrounds but that’s just me nitpicking but I do think they add a lot to what happens in the story.
Well Titan keeps proving they are the ones to turn to when adapting a franchise to comics. This is every bit as good and fun as the television series itself.