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You know it’s going to be a good time when Vikings are
involved. HELHEIM (Oni Press) proves that you can throw the manly warriors into
a great horror comic, crafting a work that is just as epic as it is terrifying.
With walking corpses and beautiful woman, the comic is building up to be a
strange story in the vein of CONAN THE BARBARIAN with its mix of magic and
rip-roaring muscles. There's a reason the work is named after
the Norse version of Hell.
HELHEIM—like any good story—starts with an epic battle
between two warring tribes. As our hero Vikings are run into the wall of their
village by a nondescript pack of savages, the main hero, Rikard, suddenly gets
a vision of his own death. Puzzled by the appearance, he continues to bravely
fight on and with his fellow warriors, savagely destroys the attacking tribe;
only to find the corpses standing up on their own.
Once again, the battle is back into full swing, only this
time it's the living versus the dead, a nightmarish vision of Hell. As the
battle rages on, Rikard’s father begins to point fingers at Rikard's wife Bera
as being the harbinger of their misery and is proven right when Rikard loses
his head to a war sword. Suddenly, more questions arise. Why are the dead
suddenly walking the earth? Who is Bera really, and what is she intending to do
with Rickard’s corpse?
HELHEIM is a great addition to, what really should be its
own genre, the Viking epic. The pace is quick and action packed, keeping the
adrenaline pumping throughout. Writer Cullen Bunn is also responsible for the
supernatural western, THE SIXTH GUN, and brings his experience of writing
macabre tales to his latest, making it an addictive read from beginning to end.
The artist Joelle Jones helps illustrate the comic with her own ghostly expertise
from dipping her pen in DC's MADAME XANADU and FABLES.
While HELHEIM is, sadly, not on shelves until March, it’ll
be well worth the wait.
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