Thursday, July 29, 2010

Northlanders #30

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Riccardo Burchielli

I always get excited when a new arc of Northlanders gets underway.  What I like most about this title is the way each arc is set in a different place and time, this time around being in 8th Century Norway, where a group of Christians have commissioned the local Vikings to build a church.

This is a huge opportunity for the town.  There is the promise of employment and wealth, which many locals are willing to trade away some of their culture and spiritual autonomy for.  This does not extend to Erik, the gigantic unskilled blacksmith who is fired from the construction project at the beginning of the story.  Erik communes with the old gods (through hallucinogens; this hasn't become a traditional Vertigo book with gods and goddesses wandering around), and takes umbrage at the actions of the arriving Christians - particularly a young girl that they have brought with them.  He decides to make his objections known one night, setting off 'Metal' in a big way.

I like the way Wood is showing these two conflicting religions and cultures.  One can read a lot into the scene where the one Christian demands that the Norsemen divert the river so it runs next to the church so that the priests and monks don't have to travel far to urinate.

Wood is joined on this arc by his DMZ collaborator Burchielli, and as usual, the two work very well together.  I'm not sure how long this story is set to run, but I look forward to seeing this cultural conflict continue.

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