Saturday, November 20, 2010

Northlanders #34

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Riccardo Burchielli

Metal, the arc that concludes with this issue, has to be the strangest story Wood has told in Northlanders to date.  While he has danced with the supernatural in some of his stories in book before, they have always been told in the context of the characters perceiving a new thing in mystical terms.

This is the first arc that has ever moved from historically verifiable and plausible plots into the fantastical.  Prior to this issue, it was quite believable that Erik, the protagonist and berserker murderer of Christians, was quite simply insane and was imagining the supernatural elements of the story.  This issue makes it seem that the odd parts of the story were really happening, as Erik has a big fight with Black Karl, who grows in size during their brawl.

Also, Hulda, the goddess that Erik has been communicating with almost since we first saw him, also speaks to Ingrid, Erik's love.  I'm not sure how effective this story was when compared to some of the finer Northlanders arcs, but I did like the way that Wood inverted peoples' usual expectations for this title and made it fresh and unpredictable.  It's been cool to see Burchielli draw something other than a bombed-out Manhattan for a change too.

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