On the recommendation of my partner-in-crime, Sarah Jaffe (who, when not shaking the political power structure by the lapels, is writing up a storm about comics over at Newsarama) I recently picked up the TBP of Northlanders Book One: Sven the Returned. This evening, I finally disconnected myself from the electronic umbilical for several hours and sat down to read it, cover to cover.
Consider my mind fucking blown.
Sarah described the series as ‘vikings fucking shit up’, a summation I won’t even attempt to improve on. Writer Brian Wood and artist Davide Gianfelice have expertly crafted a lusty, almost Moorcockian tale of blood, revenge, and sex–universal pillars that have provided the foundation for story over the aeons. But Wood also cannily subverts traditional notions of honour and glory, using his unrelentingly (but not gratuitiously) violent, historically-based tale of warring Norsemen to illustrate the inherent futility of war and how vengeance is ultimately a hollow response to lives lost.
Also, there are cool-ass decapitations–loads of them.
Highly recommended for those with a strong constitution and a taste for thoughtful introspection amid a bit (ok, more than a bit) of the old ultraviolence.