Thursday, March 15, 2012

Northlanders #49

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Danijel Zezelj

I guess the theme of this last arc in the Icelandic Trilogy (which is also the final arc in the series) is 'be careful what you wish for', as Oskar Hauksson, the eleventh generation of the family we've been following since the trilogy began, takes his family to war.

It was established last issue that Oskar's father, Godar, has led the powerful family's people (Iceland was feudal) through a long stretch of peace, and while things have always been difficult in Iceland, under Godar's leadership, it was not necessary to pick up the sword.  Oskar feels differently, and immediately after having secured his father in a hunting cabin somewhere remote, he leads his people into an attack on another family.  Oskar's goals, beyond personal glory, are not clear, and so, of course, things do not go well for him.

There are two great scenes in this comic.  In the first, the imprisoned Godar tells Oskar's wife what is going to happen to Oskar and the family.  His prognostications are not given bitterly or with malice, but simply as fact; Godar is a historian, and he understands how the forces of history work.  Later, Freya, Oskar's wife, begins to take matters into her own hands, not trusting her faith to her husband.  In this way, she shows that she is more a Hauksson than her husband.

One thing I'm going to miss about Northlanders once it is finished next issue is the work that it gave to artists that I admire a great deal.  Danijel Zezelj is perfect for this story, and I love the bleak and cold landscapes he draws in it.

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