By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Horse Comics
Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell’s comic book collaborations are usually always perfect. From their days with DC’s Sandman to Dark Horse Comics latest Norse Mythology, I don’t think I need to read the written work again. Well, I’ll have it on the bookshelf to crack open for a look ahead to what the comic book adaptation will soon offer. In issue #1, the first three chapters, Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds (with Russell authoring), Mimic’s Head and Odin’s Eye (with art by Mike Mignola) and The Treasures of the Gods (as visualized by Jerry Ordway) are enigmatically featured. These talents are also regulars to this mini-series.
According to the publisher’s advance solicitations page, artist Piotr Kowalski will have a tale in issue #2, and the variant covers by David Mack are ongoing. His rainbow coloured portraits of wonder are worthy of being put on full size posters to hang in any art room. The first issue features Thor and Mjölnir as though they are on the rainbow bridge, and the light is misting around them and reflecting off the shiny armour like a Van Gogh painting.
With three stories per issue and fifteen chapters in the book, we’ll be regaled with tales till February 2021. I’ll be getting my horn and sipping mead every time I revisit this world. There’s a lot of tales to enjoy, and this anthology series all lead up to Ragnorak. I’m interested in seeing if there’ll be consistency between each artist’s works, especially when the key figures of Odin, Loki and Thor have been introduced.
Even the Norns have a key role to play. In the first issue, they don’t have legs, but that’s because they’re in the shadows. Like other ancient gods, they walk amongst men are often not recognized. With Mignola’s take on how the leader of the gods lost his eye, the wisdom gained is not without a cost. Knowing the future can be deadly, and those who know this myth well will know when Heimdall blows the Gjallarhorn, it’ll be Ragnarok!
Sadly, because of Marvel Comics and their movies, there’s only one character design for Thor. His signature helmet and red cape is too telling and I hoped there are other ways to depict this God of Thunder. It’s easy to identify him because of his hammer and when comic conventions resume and Dark Horse brings Ordway to a show, I must ask if his design was made on purpose or if that’s what the chiefs behind this mini series wanted.