Brides of Helheim #1 (Comics Review)

I find the Age of Vikings to be a great setting, with a lot of storytelling potential, no matter what kind of a story you tell with it. There’s something very intriguing about the entire era and the myths that have come out of it, and the entire Nordic culture as well. Whether it be the TV show Vikings or Marvel’s Thor or James Lovegrove’s Age of Odin, there’s something very… vivacious about the setting. Sure, there’s all the heroism and the adventure, but at its core, there’s something very involved about the age of Vikings that draws me in, probably one reason why I started writing a Norse mythology-based space opera last year!

One of my more recent run-ins with the Age of Vikings is this week’s Brides of Helheim #1 by Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones, published by Oni Press. Apparently, this new series is a spin-off of an earlier mini-series by the same duo, Helheim, and carries the story forward of a warrior named Rikard, condemned to life as an undead even though his heroism in life could have seen him in Valhalla. Cullen writes a very involving story here as Rikard is approached by two young warriors Sigrid and Brand to help them defeat a monster, and the art by Joelle and Nick Filardi is just superb.

Brides of Helheim 001I haven’t read Cullen and Joelle’s previous arc with the series, Helheim, but having read this new issue last night, I can say that I definitely want to read it, because I loved reading about the protagonist Rikard through the perspective of Sigrid and Brand, and I also want to know more about all of them, especially how Rikard came to be as he is, an undead warrior denied his place in the hall of heroes. Some of Cullen’s previous work hasn’t exactly been impressive for me, but his current ongoing with DC, Sinestro, he has given me some great reasons to follow his work, and Brides of Helheim is certainly a title worth following.

The new issue starts with Sigrid and Brand, two young warriors who are looking for Rikard, the fabled Dead Man who has become a legend and a myth both. Sigrid’s father was killed by a monstrous beast, the Mordvig, and she wants revenge. But she can’t go after the beast by herself, and thus she comes to Rikard to convince him to help her. That’s the basis of the story in this issue, and it is fairly solid as such things go, especially in openers.

What flashes we see of Sigrid, Brand, Rikard and the other characters gives me a lot of hope for this series. The first three get the majority of the screentime as we are introduced to them one by one, and I was intrigued by their relationships with each other, especially Sigrid and Brand who appear to be more than just friends. That gives the story a fun dramatic angle to explore in future issues, although I don’t want to see that done in an overly heavy-handed manner.

Rikard is rather mysterious in this issue, particularly since I haven’t read Helheim, but I can definitely say that I want to read more. There is a certain weariness to the character, a kind of regret I suppose, that comes through as the issue progresses. And we get to see some of his supporting cast as well, all three of them being women. That’s where the title of the series comes from I think, especially since all three are also featured on the cover. Lots of mysteries being introduced in Brides of Helheim and it should all hopefully bear out in the second issue next month.

Joelle Jones is the illustrator here, with Nick Filardi on colours and CRANK! on letters. The fantastic artwork is one of the big reasons to read this issue, because Joelle has a great way with facial expressions and body language that you don’t get to see often. Each character is drawn distinctly and with lots of details so you are never confused as to who is who, and the monster is also drawn rather well. Wasn’t really expecting the monster to be as it is, but it works I guess. A good, decent challenge for Rikard, with the action sequence being amazing.

Waiting for the second issue now, and hopefully the trade of the previous mini-series soon!

Rating: 9/10

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Posted on October 7, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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