Book: Ragnarok #1
Writer & Artist: Walter Simonson
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: John Workman
Summary from Comixology: “Ragnarok…the Twilight of the Gods in Norse mythology…the destruction of the Nine Worlds. And now, three hundred years later, the birth of vengeance. Walter Simonson returns to comics in a BIG way with an all-new series… and doing what he does best!!”
From the first few pages it’s obvious that Ragnarok is an homage to the epic qualities of Norse mythology. The book begins with beautifully drawn scenes of vikings, gods, trolls, and other warriors engaged in brutal combat against one another. The best word to describe it is Visceral. There’s not a lack of depth, necessarily, there are noticeable layers to the panels, but the artwork here is strong without being over-thought (much like Vikings themselves). The rest of the book showcases more clean and vibrant artwork. A lot of credit for how beautiful this book is must go to Laura Martin, the colorist, because the way she balances the grim and lifeless, using pale browns and tan colors, with the bold and majestic, such as the black elf characters with deep blue colors.
The main character of the story, so far, seems to be Brynja, a black elf warrior-assassin who leaves her husband at home to care for their daughter while she ventures out on mission. Being a stay-at-home-dad myself, this aspect of the story grabbed me immediately. I like seeing the norm challenged and in comics, and most fantasy stories in general, it’s usually the typical warrior-dad-leaves-home-to-fight-bad-guys-some-stuff-happens-he-goes-home-the-end. I like that this changes that. And it’s not just for the sake of change either. Walt Simonson has written Brynja as a strong, wise character who is good at being dangerous. She isn’t afraid to prove that she’s not playing games and she doesn’t tolerate any bullshit.
Simonson also does a masterful job of injecting mystery that keeps you intrigued. There are a couple of different moments where he reveals just enough info to keep the story moving but doesn’t give away too much. There are definitely some questions asked that you’ll be craving the answers to.
I did not find anything in Ragnarok #1 that I felt was”bad”. The book is a solid piece of comic writing and art from beginning to end.
The Final Say
If you’re a Simonson fan, you have to pick up this book. It’s a must have for anyone who appreciates his contributions to the comic book industry (which should really be EVERYONE because the man gave us Beta Ray Bill and Malekith for gods-sake). Also, if your just a fan of stuff like sword-wielding-Elves, Vikings, Trolls, battle-axes, and dead, skull-faced, mysterious monsters, then this is probably a book you’d dig.
Walt proved with his work on Thor that he clearly knows how to write the hell out of a Norse mythology book and Ragnarok feels like the continuation of a passion that he previously didn’t get the chance to fully pursue. I give the book a 3 out of 4. I had a lot of questions when I finished reading it and certainly plan on sticking around for the answers.
(If you’re curious to see more of the book before you decide to pick it up, head over to www.idwpublishing.com to read the first several pages of the story yourself.)