I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got two new comic plus two hard cover collections:

  • Flashpoint – 5
  • Savage Dragon – 173
  • The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1
  • The New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 1
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Northlanders: The Plague Widows” by Brian Wood and Leandro Fernandez

    I’m back for the fourth “Northlanders” volume. The stories are all about Viking era Europe. They take place deep into the Viking era (A.D. 1020 in this story’s case) so the Vikings are well settled in Europe and the stories are not about Viking raids. This story takes place in a settlement on the Volga river which is in Russia.

    Though well done this is one depressing story. I mean, holy cow. It takes place in a walled settlement/town during the worst winter in anyone’s memory as plague is sweeping through the settlement. If the disease doesn’t kill you then the freezing cold or lack of food will.

    And to make it even more depressing the lead in the story is a woman who has just lost her husband to the plague and now has to take care of her daughter on her own. Plus she has to deal with a psychotic warrior guy who hates her and wants to take over the settlement. And the whole town thinks she’s a whore for some reason. This story is no pick-me-up.

    This tale is all about adversity. Struggle is the human condition. One of the characters is a foreigner who is trying to bring the latest ideas about coping with the plague to the town. He convinces the old man/leader to close the city and expel all the people who already are sick from the town. It’s a harsh decision since it immediately condemns the sick to death. But they were dying anyway. This learned foreigner is, of course, at odds with the crazy warrior guy.

    Leandro Fernandez does his usual nice job with the artwork on this series. He captures the time period well and tells a nice story. The muted coloring by Dave McCaig is also nice as is Travis Lanham’s lettering. It’s good stuff all around .

    I’m usually not one for Vertigo comics but I’ve liked this historical fiction series. This volume is up to the standards of the other three but boy is it depressing. Sure there’s a ray of hope at the end, as I suspected, but there is not much hope in the first ninety five percent of the book. Oh, and it could really suck to be a woman back then.