By Walter Simonson and Laura Martin
The legendary Walter Simonson working once again with Norse mythology and not under the constraints of Marvel’s version of Thor was an announcement that many, many fans of not only that legendary run but of Simonson himself were extremely excited for. “Let’s let Walter Simonson loose and do whatever he wants with his very own Norse mythology book,” was probably the best thing to be said by any publisher in a long time (note: probably not how the conversation actually went).
So, with Walter Simonson loose on the nine realms to do with it whatever he pleases, we get the second issue in the Ragnarok series and, boy, was it worth the wait. The second issue reads at a break neck pace as Simonson steps back and lets his art speak for itself for a number of panels. A battle worthy of the gods, drawn by one man for our amusement is the only way to describe it; it’s very much classic Simonson with great sound effects and movement. If one didn’t know any better, you’d almost swear this was Simonson’s follow up to his run on Thor because all of the same flavors are there.
That’s not to say that his art hasn’t improved or evolved in thirty years, because it has, but there’s just such a signature look to his work that you can’t help but reminisce and feel like you’re slipping into a familiar, comfortable pair of shoes—for your eye holes, of course. Simonson excels on his character design; even meaningless henchmen get a thoughtful design and unique look and it makes the general lack of background go unnoticed. You know, until you actually go looking for these types of things. Laura Martin’s colors are great, let’s just get that out of the way. Sure, a lot of her palette is blues and purples, but she makes it work. The stark contrast of who we can only assume is Ratatoskr’s brown colors really make him pop off the page and give him an aura of importance to not only this issue but down the line as well.
Let’s say it one more time, in case the point was missed: Walter Simonson is a comic book legend. This story is what he has been building towards his whole career and it has a feeling of something massive and epic and, quite possible, something that he’ll do until he decides to put the professional pencil down and call it a career—which we all hope isn’t any time soon. Ragnarok is something that everybody can get in to and with a creator of this caliber pumping out story and art on a subject that he cares deeply about how the Hel can you go wrong?