Thursday, July 14, 2011

Northlanders #42

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Paul Azaceta

Northlanders is going to be ending, but it's definitely going out with a bang, as Wood and new collaborator Paul Azaceta embark on the most ambitious arc to date.  The Icelandic Trilogy is a set of three, three-issue arcs that will follow the path of a single family through the period of European settlement in Iceland.

This first issue introduces us to Val Hauker, his wife, and his son Ulf.  They are the first family on Iceland (at least in their general area), and they eke out a difficult life from its inhospitable environment.  When other settlers start to arrive, Hauker realizes that his claim on his land is vulnerable.  He decides to toughen up his son, who narrates the story, by beating him mercilessly, and teaching him to hate.

This is a bleak and nasty story, lacking any redemption for the characters, at least so far.  In a lot of ways, this story feels a little like a Jonah Hex comic set in Iceland. I'm curious to see how Ulf truns out, especially after the unexpected scene that ends this issue.

Azaceta is a good choice for this book.  He fits well with the style of art that I'm used to seeing in this title.  I always like it when artists that I think of as particularly urban get to try out a time period as distant as the late 800s.

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