Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley
There are two mythological cycles that I have a fondness for – the Story of Troy and the Volsung saga. In fact, I prefer Norse myths to Greek. I’m not entirely sure why, but I always have.
Heathen is a comic book that draws upon ancient Norse stories but adds more.
The story is about Aydis, a young woman who is a warrior, despite her wearing bikini type clothing in the north. Unfortunately, Aydis has been labeled unnatural by her village because she likes other women. She does not want to get married, at least not to a man.
The story of how her life is saved is actually one of the most touching stories of acceptance, I’ve seen lately.
Because she has lost almost everything (she still has her horse Saga), Aydis decides to go on quest. She is going to brave the fire and rescue Brynhild, but this quest becomes more difficult as the focus on her quest changes – she is going to challenge the status quo in a more direct way.
To be honest, the artwork in this volume isn’t to my taste. This is just a preference issue, not an artistic judgement. Certain aspects of it are appealing – such as the horses and the wolves. The women just look a little strange. It’s like Aeon Flux – storytelling is great, but the art work is my type of thing.
There is some humor here – particular when it comes to animals – and if you are familiar with Norse myths and legends (not the Marvel version, BTW), you will get some of the character names. The book also draws more closely on the mythology than the Marvel comic, and there is even historical reference to the coming of Christianity.
What is more important, and just lovely, is the book does examine the question of love and truth though the characters, including the goddess Freya who meets Aydis.
It really is a wonderful human story.
Look, I loved it so much, I went to see when new issues would be coming out.