Raevil has been captured, but mystery still surrounds him. Has he been so easily cowed? Is it good?
Brides of Helheim (Oni Press)
Right off the bat Cullen Bunn and Joëlle Jones make the reader wait to see what will happen between Rikard and Raevil. Instead, Sigrid and Brand are front and center and once again the opening sequence is rather uninspiring. Brand comes off as a sappy, love-sick puppy while Sigrid is impetuous and immature. If Sigrid’s character couldn’t get any more annoying after this opening scene with Brand, she has become infatuated with Rikard.
Finally a third of the way through the issue, Bunn takes us to Raevil and Rikard. No longer are the two on the island, but are now inside the belly of Rikard’s fish beast on the way back to the spae women. Bunn introduces a little bit of Raevil’s character, primarily his ability to negotiate and use his words to attempt to get what he wants. However, some of the panels appear out of place. In one instance Rikard questions Raevil, asking if his words are a threat. Three panels later Raevil responds, “Not at all.” These mismatched panels really make the dialogue confusing and hard to figure out what exactly is happening between Raevil and Rikard.
After this confusing dialogue, Bunn identifies Raevil as a truly heinous and evil figure removing the veil of mystery on whether or not his intentions in the previous issue were true or he had planned to create chaos among his students. However, the out-of-place panels continue. Joëlle Jones depicts the giant crab-like fish moving through the sea and then being attacked by multiple tentacles for two panels. Next, in the third panel, the tentacles have retreated and the fish appears to just be approaching them instead of having fought them off. The following two panels depict the tentacles once again on the attack. It does not really make sense and once again is confusing.
Despite the out of place panels, the battle sequence is once again intense and highly engaging. Jones’ monster creation is also unique. The main opponent are these dinosaur-like barracudas with razor sharp teeth and adjustable noses depending on whether they are on the hunt or attacking. However, like the previous issue, these opponents are not a true challenge to Rikard and there is no risk involved in combating them.
It seems Bunn and Jones both realize this and correct the issue and this challenge is absolutely stunning. Jones creates an extremely unique look for a classic Norse mythos. Filardi emphasizes the uniqueness with his colors adding just the right amount of glitter on the jet black sword and shield. His ability to show the shine off her armor adds a touch of glamour to this fearsome new challenge.
Is It Good?
Once again the beginning of the book is rather lackluster and Brand and Sigrid are extremely annoying characters that do not add value to the story of Rikard. Raevil’s mystery is peeled away and it is a little disappointing he is described as such a great evil when there appeared to be glimpses of genuine good previously. There are a number of panels that appear to be out of place that make following the middle part of the story quite frustrating. One positive is Jones’ creature design and action sequences. The new challenge to Rikard is quite fabulous (I can easily imagine this being hung up as a poster)!