When a comic starts with a group of vikings running for their lives you know something is coming. Joelle Jone’s striking artwork the and Cullen Bunn’s writing make Helheim more than even its impressive start lets on. There’s a reason this book is named after the Norse version of Hell.
Having obviously suffered a recent staggering defeat, our hero Rikard and his band emerge from the forest fleeing their enemies. The emerge just in time to find their village gates closed. Cornered, the men turn to meet their pursuers. After cutting down the dogs and crazed savaged their enemies are routed. This pursuit and battle are conveyed beautifully through fully colored pages fluid and energetic images.
Before the remaining men can stagger their way into the village and fain a victory a twist changes Helheim into an even darker, dangerous and magical place. Helheim is not the tale of tribes of men fighting each other, but rather of man trying to fight against the yoke of a witch. So when the fallen men – foes and allies alike – rise as skeletal warriors the men resume their battle.
There’s plenty of magic in Helheim, and mystery as well. Rikard’s father believes the witch will not stop her relentless torment of the village until Bera, his son’s woman, is given up to her. Why would the witch want Bera? She’s beautiful, but is she worth the danger?
Rikard is the hero of Helheim, so when he falls in battle – with his head separated from his shoulders – it might come as a bit of a surprise. Remember though, Helheim is the Norse word for Hell, and in such a realm the dead don’t seem to stay dead.
Helheim is a a Viking Epic in everything from sweeping story to intriguing mythology. In true viking fashion the fight scenes are both beautiful and gory thanks to the pen of Joelle Jones. The story maintains an action-packed pace that delivers just what you’d expect from a Gothic Horror tale featuring Norse Warriors, written by Cullen Bunn, author of The Sixth Gun. It’s not perfect, there are rough edges in character depictions at times and the genre won’t appeal to everyone, but the overall quality shines through.
Readers looking for a unique comic with fantastic artwork and writing will find Wilheim ready to deliver. Hopefully Oni Press and their team can keep up the pace of this entry in subsequent issues.
For more, see our video review of Wilheim on Comic Station Issue #10 with more New Releases, Reviews and Recommendations for March 6th 2013 .