The spae witches’ quest for vengeance takes center stage as Rikard begins his hunt for Raevil. Is it good?
Brides of Helheim #2 (Oni Press)
Cullen Bunn’s first part of the story seems altogether pointless. He uses two full pages to detail the fact that Rikard is no longer a man, but an undead draugr, something readers are well aware of if they read the first book or Helheim itself. After these two pages, the history of the spae women and how they became the witches they are is revealed.
Joëlle Jones places a background behind the panels to cue the ensuing sequence is taking place in the past. There is no need for a written cue because of the visual effect, where the panels are centered on the page and do not take up as much of the page as the panels occurring in the present.
The history of the witches is intriguing, but also feels incomplete. Raevil is made out to be a terrible villain, who wreaked havoc by unleashing the rage of the witches and then abandoning them to their violence. However, one of Raevil’s promises when instructing the women in his arts is peace. The story creates a mystery around Raevil and his actual intentions compared to those of the witches.
Following the history of the witches, the story switches to a massive action sequence. However, there is no real transition and the two stories do not seem to have much connection except Rikard and Raevil appear in both.
Joëlle Jones takes command of the second half of the book. The dialogue is few and far between as a massive action sequence takes over. It begins rather oddly as Rikard acts like Jonah and is delivered onto Raevil’s fortress by a giant crab-like fish. It is unclear how Rikard tamed the beast since he struggled to defeat a bear in the previous issue.
If you can get over how Rikard managed to cross the ocean, the ensuing sequence is ripe with action. Jones takes the idea of a blood eagle and turns it into a fearsome monster. The creature’s ribs are completely removed from its spine and form wings upon its back as it glides down to face Rikard’s mighty axe. The action is intense, but there is no fear Rikard will be subdued or defeated, despite some vicious attacks. There is one panel where one of the creatures has climbed up Rikard’s back and placed him in a headlock. The catch is the creature is covered in spikes and they puncture and push through Rikard’s skin.
Highlighting Jones’ artwork is Nick Filardi’s colors. He keeps the vibe of bleak Nordic countries clear in the mind of the reader. There was one point where it was unclear as to why the water had a gold tinge to it. He seems to be evoking the color of water at dusk, but it seems to be enchanted rather than the time of day causing the gold effect.
Is It Good?
The history of the spae women and what drove them to be the witches they are was extremely intriguing as was Jones’ epic action sequence at the end of the book. However, the opening that emphasizing Rikard is no longer a human is repetitive. The two stories also do not have a clear transition and only seem to be connected by Rikard and Raevil. Bunn did create enough mystery around Raevil to keep readers intrigued as to his motives.