Saturday, March 9, 2013

Helheim #1

Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Joëlle Jones

I get a lot of enjoyment out of Cullen Bunn's mystical Western series The Sixth Gun, so adding his new title, Helheim, to my pull-list was a no-brainer.  Bunn has launched a new series that is similar to Sixth Gun, in that it takes an established genre - the Viking tale in this case - and mashed it up with horror-filled fantasy.

When this comic opens, a group of Norsemen are fleeing through the woods towards their walled village.  We're not too clear on what is chasing them, but we know that they arrive home too late to be let in, since the gates wouldn't be closed before their pursuers are upon them.  Making their stand, the brave Rickard, his father, and their friends are able to repel the vicious men and dogs that are after them.

Later, after the battle is completed, the dead attackers rise up from the ground and continue the battle, which exacts a terrible price from the small, starving community.  We eventually learn that a witch named Groa is behind the problems of the village, although Rickard's father figures out that it is because she is after Bera, Rickard's beautiful wife.  There are a couple more surprises at the end of the comic, but I won't spoil them.

Bunn is joined on this title by Joëlle Jones, a talented artist best known for her work in the romance and crime genres.  She does an excellent job on this book, with art that reminds me a little of Becky Cloonan's issues of Northlanders.

When The Sixth Gun started, I wondered if it had more than an arc or two in the concept, and it's now up to its 29th issue, and a spin-off mini-series has just launched.  Here's hoping that Bunn fills Helheim with as many good stories, and achieves the same kind of success.

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