Returning to the wheelhouse that made him a comics star on Thor, Walt Simonson launches ‘Ragnarok’ a Norse mythology inspired epic. This first issue starts the tale of Brynja, a sword wielding dark elf worthy of standing along the likes of Red Sonja, and delivers a fun tale of violence and adventure.
WRITTEN BY: Walter Simonson
ART BY: Walter Simonson
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: July 23, 2014
Review By: Ooknabah
Taking place in a blasted world in the aftermath of the death of the gods, Ragnarok follows Brynja as she undertakes to kill a dead god for the sakes of gaining immortality for her family. While the characterization is fairly simple, this is well worn territory for Simonson, and the familiarity allows him to create an authentic atmosphere while still playing in its confines. There is little in the way of groundbreaking developments, but for fans of the genre this is good pulpy entertainment which is essentially what the story promises from the outset, and it delivers.
Simonson’s art is good, although the lack of detail on zoomed-out figures comes across as a bit lazy: Still, the work is functional and the action feels kinetic and lively, while the tense and moody elements work well, all in all creating a more than serviceable whole. Of note, some of the larger reveals of ancient architecture brings to mind Simonson’s best work in the 80s. This does not rise to those heights, but the skill and experience of an industry veteran, particularly in layouts and staging, is evident throughout.
All in all, this comic plays out like a forgotten classic of the 80s or 90s, with overblown dialog and prose that leans a bit over the top. Since those days, writing in comics has evolved to allow for more nuance and subtlety, very little of which is in effect here. That said, there is something to be said for the appeal of a throwback to older comics, and for fans of Conan, Thor, or other such medieval-themed adventures, there is a lot here to like. There is a slight worry however, as the premise of the comic may be overtaken in later issues as the dead god set to be awaken could drastically alter the tone that has been set here. But those are problems for tomorrow: Today, you’ve got a classic adventure, well executed.
Bombastic and bold, if you miss comics like Walt Simonson used to make, well then rejoice, as he is still making them today. To be honest, I didn’t expect to care for this one, but it caught me by surprise in a pleasant way. I’ll be here next issue.
Ooknabah AKA Brent Hirose is a writer, actor and gigantic nerd from Vancouver B.C. You can listen to his podcast about that at HugeNerds.Podomatic.Com or check out his many other projects at BrentHirose.com