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Helheim #1, written by Cullen Bunn with pencils by Joelle Jones and colors by Nick Filardi is just as dark as you would expect a comic who takes its title from Norse mythology to be – in the best way possible. In Norse mythology, Helheim represents the land of the dead – guarded over by the Norse Goddess Hel, daughter of Loki. Though it does not appear that the comic itself it set in the netherworld, the environment the reader is first thrust into is hellish in many ways.
Set in a bleak, cold universe, we first encounter Rikard and the other warriors fighting for their lives. Though Rikard attempts to save some of his men, he eventually must leave them behind in order to continue on and reach the safe haven of the village. From here more madness ensues as defeated warriors spring to life in an attempt to finish off the living. Rikard and the remaining warriors must face the grim prospects of both re-killing their enemies from earlier and also their own fallen friends.
Through the course of this battle the intentions of the undead, and their master, are made clear with surprising results for Rikard and his lady love Bera. Bunn’s writing throughout the issue is definitely worthy of more nominations, capturing the reader in the dark world of warriors battling the undead, and throwing in some twists for the readers.
Enhancing the writing in every way are Joelle Jones’s depictions of the warriors. The girl can draw Norsemen! This is fantastic as big burly Norsemen happen to be some of my favorite images to consume (perhaps explaining my obsession with Norse mythology and Thor). Rikard’s vision from the second page of the issue is both majestic and ethereal . Of course none of this would be possible without Filardi’s colors. Though the world is mostly blue and white, his subtle shades bring the perfect finish to both narrative and pencils.
With a low initial print run – finding a copy of Helheim #1 may require the hunting skills of the Norsemen, but it is definitely worth your time and money to do so. Or you can find it digitally for cheap. Either way, add this comic to your pull list immediately, you won’t regret it!