October 25, 2017

Review: Heathen Vol. 1

Heathen Vol. 1 Heathen Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish Goodreads had half stars. This is actually a 3.5, and that's because the art in the first two issues of the collection seems crude and unfinished. The art definitely improved towards the end, but I think the first two issues could have used another pass. (Also, I guess it's unusual for the writer and artist, in this case Natasha Alterici, to be the same person.)

At any rate, this is a nice story, based on Norse mythology and set at a point where Christianity is just beginning to make itself felt. Aydis is a girl exiled from her tribe for kissing another girl (the sentence was "marriage or death," and her father supposedly chose the latter and set her free instead), and goes on a quest to rescue the spellbound leader of the Valkyries, Brynhild. As things develop, Brynhild and Aydis end up having separate but parallel storylines, with both concentrating on saving LGBT people who might be exiled or murdered in this society. At the very end, Aydis lays down a challenge to Odin, who is evidently the series' overarching "big bad."

The goddess Freyja also makes an appearance, along with immortal talking wolves Skull and Hati, and Aydis' own horse, Saga, who is actually a supernatural being called a "wight." All three provide some comic relief in what is a bit of a grim story. All told, I think this is a promising debut, and I will be on the lookout for the next volume.

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