By Walter Simonson and Laura Martin
The great Walter Simonson returning to Norse mythology in a creator owned series might be one of the best announcements in recent memory. His work with Marvel’s Thor is legendary, as is his love of this mythology. The end of days, or Ragnarök as the story goes, where everything ends. The Midgard Serpent breaks free from the world tree Yggdrasil and gods and mortals alike perish in a universe ending battle. Cool, right?
Simonson picks up the story some time after Ragnarök, because nature will always find a way, to something unexpected. Simonson chooses a Black Elf assassin family as his focus and immediately throws the reader into this desolate post-Ragnarök world. As someone who generally avoids too many pre-release pages or story notes, seeing Simonson delve this far into mythology is certainly unexpected but it’s a welcomed surprise. It’s interesting to not just be a straight forward retelling of Ragnarök and the end of days, and actually move past the event—though it’s covered fantastically in the first few pages with some old Norse verses on the event—to things afterwards. How the world recovers and how life might just go on.
When it comes to Walter Simonson’s art, there’s almost nothing better. Simonson leaves it all on the page from character designs, particularly the design of the Midgard serpent Jörmungandr which is both frightening and awe inspiring, and clearly proves without a doubt why he was born to tell tales like this. Everything from the fantastical horse-lizard that Brynja rides, to cliff hanger page at the end is just designed and drawn with such care and thought. You just know that this just but a taste of what Simonson has in store for us because there’s a whole lot more to come. For her part, colorist Laura Martin absolutely nails it. The introduction and the battle of Ragnarök looks fantastic, and when the story begins her uses of purples and blues really make the characters pop on the page. Undoubtedly Simonson could not have picked a better colorist to work on his masterpiece.
While this might not be the story that you expect it to be, it’s Walter Simonson drawing and writing a story based on Norse mythology without the constraints of Marvel and their shared universe. What more could you possibly ask for? If you like Norse mythology, if you like fantasy, if you like sword and sorcery, if you like Walter Simonson, if you like good comics, than this book is for you.