The first issue of this rather special 9th century crime series from Image sold out, which was no surprise. This follow-up is not a suitable jumping on point for newcomers to the title, as they’ll be scratching their heads over what exactly is going on. Even regular readers may be too, with its bi-monthly release schedule. Saying that, this was almost as enjoyable as the debut ish. A lot less actually happens, and there is very little dialogue in the first half of the book, but that serves the desolation of not only the environment but also Egil’s loneliness well.
After the butchering last issue, Egil finds himself in a virtual battlefield surrounded by corpses and begins to make his way to his grandfather’s house, where his brother Finn also resides. Egil seeks forgiveness and acceptance but instead receives a beating. In between these events, half of the story is devoted to a king, his adventurous, yet almost imprisoned daughter and a humiliated servant. How this family mixes up with the viking brothers is yet to be seen, but as happiness seems to go unclaimed for characters in this series, I can’t imagine a prosperous future beckons.
Ivan Brandon’s dialogue is great here. He really knows how to create empathy and he does a superb job of capturing the inner turmoil of every character in this issue without being too wordy. That’s a rare skill for a writer. That means that Viking is not a mere blood soaked tale of revenge and redemption that we’ve all seen before. Brandon manages to make the past come alive with a rich world and fully rounded, believable men and women.
Nic Klein’s art is as jaw dropping as it was last issue. He makes full use of the larger format pages and mixes his painted and pencilled styles beautifully. His lighting choices must be mentioned too. With camp fires and torches, I could almost hear the crackle and feel the warmth of the embers. It all seems so – earthy. This isn’t the sort of tale I’d normally buy (even though it’s quite cheap for its size) but I’m glad I took a chance on it.