By: Walter Simonson (writer & artist), Laura Martin (colorist)
The Story: “Would you know yet more?”
The Review: Full of strange ideas and epic dramas, Walter Simonson’s Thor remains one of the go-to answers when someone asks what they should read to get into Marvel’s god of thunder. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to hear that Simonson’s return to the realm of Norse Mythology has been hotly anticipated. But despite the undoubted similarity between the forms, Ragnarök #1 resembles traditional sword and sorcery more than the traditional fare of the Norse gods, Marvel-style or otherwise.
In fact, in keeping with the name, there are no gods in this issue, save for what appears to be a corpse in a couple of panels. Instead we explore the post-twilight world through the eyes of Brynja, a svartálfr or black elf. Brynja is an interesting protagonist for this story. While she’s certainly not busting down stereotypes of women or black elves, Simonson does a fine job of representing her complexity and competency. Despite holding the questionable position of assassin, Brynja shows remarkable compassion for her family and has a rather charming relationship with her husband and former sword master, Regn. All of this is expressed in a matter of pages and done in a way that, while it doesn’t sneak information to the reader, is integrated into the story well enough that readers won’t ever feel spoken down to.
Ragnarök obviously rewards those who have some familiarity with Norse mythology but, like many comics, it will likely be the expectation of not understanding that proves the greater barrier than Simonson’s writing. Indeed, much of the content is original and the Thor movies should provide enough background knowledge for most topics raised. As long as you come in with a basic understanding that the Norse gods were prophesized to die and that this was called Ragnarök, you should be able to get your feet, if not understand every nuance.
Filed under: IDW, Reviews | Tagged: Brynja, Drifa, Fenrir, Jörmungandr, Laura Martin, Norse Mythology, Ragnarök 1, Ragnarök 1 Review, Ragnarok, Regn, Sword and Sorcery, Thor, Walter Simonson | 1 Comment »