Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Comic Review: Northlanders: Sven the Returned by Brian Wood

Northlanders Vol. 1: Sven The ReturnedNorthlanders Vol. 1: Sven The Returned by Brian Wood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As graphic novels go, NORTHLANDERS VOL. 1: SVEN THE RETURNED, was a bit of a letdown. The main thing is I never actually liked Sven "the Returned," so I really didn't care whether he lived, died, sailed off yonder, or got buggered sideways. He starts out as a miserable bastard and pretty much ends this arc as a miserable bastard, despite having achieved most of what he set out to do.

I reckon some of you who have been reading my reviews are starting to see a trend in my reviews, but if we don't identify (at least a little!) with the main character, doesn't it make it pretty darned difficult to enjoy what we're reading to the fullest? I feel like series author, Brian Wood, could have done more with a story that is ultimately anticlimactic, featuring characters who are ultimately irritating. I mean, he has this great setting and Vikings to write about and he just sorta gives a half-assed effort here.

Davide Gianfelice's art was good, albeit cartoony in places, especially the fight scenes, and some panels seemed rushed and too gritty; although, most of the grit was from the newsprint paper quality as it rubbed off on my hands. I understand DC cuts costs sometimes with lower selling books, but I have to wonder if Gianfelice's work would have been better served by a better paper stock--a roll of Cottonelle would have produced better quality color and ink retention!

I'm giving NORTHLANDERS VOL. 1 two stars, mainly because I like the general premise but I think Wood could have done more research and given a better effort. I understand the guy is a good writer in general (DMZ had a solid fan base), and he might have a plan to develop Sven more in the next story arc, who knows. I'll give NORTHLANDERS VOL. 2 a try, despite the second-rate quality in fairly every aspect of "Sven the Returned."

Two stars (out of five).
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