The third edition of my integration of comic book recommendations into the blog features Northlanders. This is a series from DC's "adult" imprint, Vertigo, and is about Vikings. Firstly, who the hell doesn't like a good tale involving Vikings, seafaring and battle? The spectacle of medieval combat is exceptionally suitable for comic books in my opinion. I'm surprised there aren't more series set in the Middle Ages. As to this particular story, like all good comics it is the writing that makes or breaks the value of the series. The writer is Brain Wood, who is also notable for his work with another Vertigo series, DMZ. Wood does a wonderful job at addressing the existentialist dilemma of humans in the story line of Northlanders. Through the narration and actions of the main character Sven the story explores the nature of identity, modernity, warfare and death in the brutal warrior culture of medieval Europe, especially in her northern lands. Sven, a former member of the Varangian Guard employed by the Byzantine emperors, returns to his homeland in the Orkney Islands to confront his past and experience some good old Bildungsroman. That is, he comes to realize how much of an ass he is, but not before being a bloody lunatic. I find all that jazz is quite appealing, but that is coming from a guy that just finish an anthropology degree. And as such a fellow, I'll say the use of ideas like identity and sentiments of nationhood seems somewhat anachronistic for a man in the 10th century but examination of the self is universal and timeless. Accordingly, I've decided to share the first story arc of Northlanders, called "Sven the Returned" and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and forgive that the scans seem to be of varying quality if you may.
To be had here:
Northlanders - Sven the Returned