Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artwork: Tim Odland
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: 22nd June 2022
A cursed prince with a seemingly magic axe must leave his home to return a powerful artefact to the frost giants or suffer a horrible death, covered in boils. Not alone must he venture forth, no Prince Helgi is accompanied by the one-armed blacksmith Stigr, a former warrior of renown, as well as a young woman cloaked in feathers who may be a legendary Valkyrie, or more likely delusional. Oh, and don’t forget their small furry companion. With trolls, fae, and oodles of folkloric legend and adventure, Beware the Eye of Odin has a lot of promise and delivers an entertaining dark fantasy read.
Norse legend and Viking culture has always seemed a fairly popular repository of inspiration for creators to delve into. And therein lies, in my opinion, the greatest hurdle for this debut issue and arc. Does Beware the Eye of Odin bring anything fresh, invigorating, or different enough to stand out on the shelves? Well… yes, but also no.
The art and monster designs are big ticks in the pro column here. One Head and Many Faces, as I will call them, troll-like creatures, are gruesome and captivating in equal measure. The landscapes are engrossing and throughout the characters bristle with detail. The splashes and full technicolour from Odland and Madsen ensure this stays firmly in the bouncy action adventure category and it’s a fun-looking comic in which traditional fantasy fans will find lots to like.
Similarly, Wagner’s story, delivered by Dukeshire’s letters, provides plenty of amusing moments punctuated by actions scenes which keep the pacing punchy. Instead of long exposition and scene setting, Beware The Eye Of Odin just has things happen and we are to believe that they’ll later be explained, or we just have to fill in the blanks. Where has the King and the men gone? What’s the deal with our hero’s axe?
It’s a bold choice to have readers take this leap and it caught me off-guard, but the end result works as it forces you to buy into these heroes’ journey. Unfortunately, for all the good stuff and familiar concepts (I can’t help but draw parallels between the Valkyrie Kadlin here and a certain Barbarian and their miniature giant space hamster), there’s not enough subversion or novel takes to bring it into balance for my preference.
Beware The Eye Of Odin is a well-crafted, well delivered story which is plenty entertaining. I’d love to see more monsters and dark fantasy of the kind delivered in this debut; maybe just notch the dial up a bit.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
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