Ragnarök #1

7.3 Overall Score
Art: 8/10
Dialogue: 6/10
Story: 8/10

Breathtaking first five pages | A cool, traditional twist on a mythology which has seen tons of misrepresentation over the years | Feels fresh

Artwork takes a steep plunge after the initial quintet of masterpieces | Dialogue is stunted | Dry writing

Ragnarök #1
Walt Simonson
IDW Publishing
2014

Amid the Marvel boom that counts among its marquee figures a certain Norse god of thunder, one might initially question the choice to begin a new series based around Norse mythology. However, when you take into consideration that the creator of that comic is none other than Walt Simonson, an artist whose name is synonymous with Marvel’s most iconic incarnation of Thor, the idea may begin to make a little more sense. Add to the mix a much truer adherence to the original mythological source material and maybe – just maybe – he might be onto something.

The mythological story of Ragnarökrevolves around the deaths of several major figures in Norse mythology – namely Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr, Freyr and Heimdallr – followed by worldwide disaster and a great flood. Simonson’s Ragnarök opens with a series of breathtaking splash pages, accompanied by mythological scripture, depicting Thor’s epic final battle with the Midgard serpent Jörmungandr. After a fierce tussle with the enormous creature, Thor wins the day but collapses soon after, sinking dead into the sea.

Readers are then relocated both geographically and temporally to some time later and some distance away to the house of Brynja, her husband Regn and their daughter – a trio of dark elf assassins. Brynja, leaving her husband to watch over their child, accepts a job unlike any she’s taken before: to find and kill the now resurrected undead fallen gods.

Pretty cool, huh?

It’d be unfair to expect Simonson’s artwork to maintain the quality of the first five pages throughout the entire book – they must’ve taken him a month alone, at least – however there is a noticeable drop-off in both detail and quality of linework once we begin following Brynja’s quest. The illustrations are still quite good and the pages are thoughtfully laid out, but I dunno… it’s like reverse “Fruit on the Bottom,” you know?

As far as the writing is concerned, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with it, however there also is nothing outstanding about any of it either. Then again, this is only the first issue. As far as first issues go, Ragnarök #1 gets more right than wrong and, in laying down a decent foundation upon which to build a sturdy ongoing plot, that’s more than enough to call this initial step a victorious one.

 

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Jesse Scheckner
Author: Jesse Scheckner View all posts by
A freelance writer who regularly produces work for MMA Owl, Tuff Gnarl, Broward Palm Beach New Times, Florida Geek Scene and Miami's Community Newspapers. Moderately relevant. Follow me on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

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