© Ivan Brandon & Nic Klein.
Here’s a brand new take on Vikings in comics form, and what a huge contrast it is to THE VIKING PRINCE reprint collection from DC I reviewed here recently. The writing is much more like an action film, with every word presented in dialogue balloons, no captions of any kind. Thus, we have no time and place given, no introduction to the characters except through their visual appearance and what they say about each other, and no window into their thoughts or motivations. I found this a little off-putting at first, but once I got past the initial pages, the action and dialogue carried me through, and it worked fine, though now and then I lost track of who was who. The story focuses on two Viking brothers, Finn and Egil, who are brutal and violent in a believable way; not terribly bright perhaps, but strong and crafty when they need to be. They’ve come into the world with little, and they desire much. The book shows how they go about trying to get it, as well as looking at some of their upbringing and the social world they live in. It’s tough stuff, and fascinating work.
The art by Nic Klein (no relation) is quite accomplished. My only small complaint is that sometimes the techniques used (and there are a number of them, often on the same page) tend to be so attention-getting that they pulled me out of the story. The styles run from traditional comics linework with dot-screen shading, to several kinds of painted work, to what seems a multi-media approach, all excellently produced, but as I said, kind of distracting, especially when the style keeps shifting. This oversize hardcover makes a fine showcase for the art, though, and the reproduction is quite good, too. Obviously Nic put a great deal of effort and time into this project, and it shows on every page.
If you like high-testosterone action and cutting-edge art, give this book a try. Recommended.