Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Joelle Jones
Release Date: August 7, 2013
In the final chapter of Cullen Bunn’s Viking horror tale, we discover how much of the man Rikard used to be remains as he confronts Bera, the witch who made him, one last time. Does he get vengeance? Peace? Freedom? Do the needs and affairs of men even matter in a witch-war? This last question, I think, holds the theme of the entire story: even in a world without demons and draugrs, men are mortal, and have little control over when or where the clock will stop.
A single issue never seemed as short as this one. I had similar feelings about issue #5. I wanted more from the confrontations with Groa and Bera. At the same time, Bunn gives the reader everything he or she needs from each character. Rikard’s father, Kirk, is particularly sympathetic. Kadlin remains infuriatingly mysterious, but I’m a fan of her “taking care of business” attitude. She’s adorable, ruthless, and cool in a creepy way. Rikard himself has been my favorite from the start. I love characters who struggle with any sort of dichotomy. In Rikard’s case, the struggle between the man he was versus the thing he has become. Seeing how much of him was man and how much was monster surprised me.
As with every other issue, Joëlle Jones delivers stunning art. The softness of Bera and Kadlin’s faces belies what they’re capable of, while the hard features of Kirk and Rikard mask genuine vulnerability. Nick Filardi’s colors have been absolutely essential to the tone of the story. The land exists in either perpetual twilight or perpetual dawn, between life and death (and light and dark), just like Rikard.
This issue is a satisfying conclusion to a unique, creepy, and fun story. Ultimately, it was far too short for me. I need more Vikings and monsters! I look forward to more tales of horror (and hopefully winged Norse Frankenstein warriors) from Bunn in the future. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and get my Vikings/monsters fix by rereading this issue while watching the new Thor trailer on repeat.
The Verdict: 9.0/10