Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Heathen V.1

Heathen by Natasha Alterici & Rachel Deering
Publisher: Vault Comics (Diamond Book Distributors)
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Format: Egalley, 115 pages
Source: Netgalley 
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon  B&N  TBD
Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.

I saw that this graphic novel was available as "read now" on Netgalley and then I saw "Vikings" and I was like yes, please!!! Like literally, they had me at Vikings and I downloaded it immediately! I have to say that this one did not disappoint!

So here's the situation, Aydis gets caught kissing another girl and her father pretends to kill her so she can run away. So Aydis takes it upon herself to try to break the curse that the god Odin put on the leader of the Valkyries. This story is pretty much a classic quest story, and I loved it so, so much! As a fan of mythology, I was super into reading about the Viking culture through this comic and seeing how the Gods relate to mortals. I don't know a lot of norse mythology, but I'm really interested in it and definitely want to read more of Aydis' story.

The story arc in this comic is very much about finding yourself and being okay with that. It's also about trying to overcome adversity when you are the "other" that scares simple-minded people. We see this not just in what Aydis' experiences at the hand's of her village's male leaders, but we see it later when a "witch" is being cast out from her village and Brynhild basically takes matters into her own hands to solve the problem. 

One thing I really enjoyed about this story was all the little hints about how Christianity was starting to take over Viking culture, and forcing them to change their ways. I love the part when Aydis is asked why she wears a helmet with horns when her people have never done that before. It also plays a part in the scene when Brynhild helps the "witch". I found these little nuggets of showing the world and culture changing to be super interesting and gave me more context about this story.  

I can't write a review about a comic book without talking about the art! I really liked the style of art in this one. It's done in a very muted tone with neutral blacks and browns. In the beginning when we get the story about Brynhild the style almost looks like a primitive style reminiscent of cave paintings, and I thought that was a cool way to introduce us to the setting of this story. The art style really reflects the grittiness of the setting and really gave me a feel for what life was like in Viking society at this time period. 

My only issue with this comic is that it was over too quickly! I want to read the next one right away!

Have your read Heathen? What did you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!