I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got no new comics this week. Slow week. I did get one hard cover collection:

  • Astonishing X-Men Volume 2
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • “Northlanders – Book One Sven the Returned” by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice
  • I had noticed “Northlanders” on the stands a couple of months ago. I liked “Demo” and “Local” by the writer Brian Wood but didn’t like his “DMZ” series. I gave “Northlanders” a quick look. It’s a historical fiction piece about Vikings. Being a fan of history it was right up my alley but since the first issue I saw wasn’t number one and it was published by Vertigo Comics, which I usually don’t think much of, I gave it a pass.

    This week the trade paperback collection of “Northlanders” came out priced at the “get you hooked in” price of $9.99. At nearly two hundred pages that’s quite a bargain so I decided to give it a spin. I’m glad I did.

    “Northlanders” takes place in the year 980 in the Orkney Islands. Those are the islands just north of Scotland that were conquered and lived on by Vikings at this time. Sven has been spending most of his adulthood far away on the Mediterranean living in the city of Constantinople. Having received word that his father has died and his uncle has stolen his birthright Sven returns home to claim it.

    That is how the story starts and it sticks to that path for a while but then gets a little more complicated and interesting than a basic “return home to conquer evil” story. No one really has a grand plan. Not Sven, his uncle, or his uncle’s right hand man. They are just kind of muddling through trying to figure things out like we all do. Sure there are life and death battles but they don’t seem to ever quite solve things.

    This book is about the choices people make and choices people have made for them. It’s about living life in turn of the first millennium Orkney. Life, death, sex, dirt, nudity, snow, and relationships both casual and deep are here.

    I enjoyed the art in this book. I’ve never heard of the artist, Davide Gianfelice, but he does a nice job of capturing the time and place of the story. Plus he gets pretty good variety in his long hair and beards as most of the characters are wearing them. He can draw a nice naked lady too.

    The book is printed on crappy newsprint but the colorist did a nice job anyway. It’s mostly muted tones to capture the times with lots of red blood splatters thrown in for the sword fights. Nice coloring over all. The texture of the newsprint even adds an old time feel to the book.

    So if you’re into some tales of the past pick up “Northlanders”.