Review; Vikings #1
By Paul Fiander
WRITER: Cavan Scott
ARTIST: Staz Johnsonwith Richard Elson
COLOURS: Rodrigo Fernandes
Publisher: Titan Comics
On Sale: April 27
When it comes to intriguing historical people's few can compare with the Vikings. The brutal raiders were once depicted as merely barbarians but the more you look at them the more their society comes alive. With a complex religion and hierarchical structure their society is more than a barbarous rabble. Of course though violence was a key part of their lives and this mixture is what makes them such a rich culture to look at.
This Vikings series has grown out of the successful TV and stars the same cast. If you have not seen the show at any point do not worry as there is a handy who’s who at the front and while it does not go deeply into the show's narrative it does offer a rather nice jumping on point. The events of the comic take place in series three of the show so if you are behind you may not want to go on.
The story itself is a set up for the future of the series, this is a very general statement but for this issue it feels apt. The creative team of writer Cavan Scott and artist Staz Johnson could have just depicted a raid and gone for the shouty shouty opening. Instead this rather low key issue showed the struggles of leadership both at home and abroad for the king Ragnar Lothbrok. Don't worry there is some violence and here Johnson gets to explore the movement of blood and it's spray pattern. This does give hope that when the axes start to fly we will get some wonderful melee filled panels.
The story is being told in the forest person as our narrator tells us of the continuing links being forged between the Vikings and some in England. This type of maneuvering has killed properties looking at you Star Wars prequels and lifted others A Song of Ice and Fire being a prime example. However the exchanges are swift and filled with a mixture of tension and laughter in one case and pure tension in another.
Johnson’s art allows a fair bit of interpretation though every character is easily recognisable to their on screen basis. He has not tried to create photo realistic images but taken the major features of the character to highlight who they are. This gives the art a unique and consistent feel.
As far as opening goes this is a strong first issue with everything in the right place. From here the story can only get more intriguing and we will be along for the ride to see.