In real life things can change like the wind. It’s not often you see that in a serial series though, because when a formula works why change it?
That is not the case with Vinland Saga, which started with intense war sequences and in this volume very much slows down to show us the slave’s life. With such an intense gear switch I wonder if Vinland can keep up its high quality. Is it good?
Vinland Saga Book 5 (Kodansha Comics)
You could say book 4 was the conclusion to everything that led up to it. A major villain was vanquished, a king was crowned and Thorfinn saw a lot of his goals crack completely. It was a highly entertaining and highly explosive conclusion, but it didn’t end there but on a quiet farm with a new slave joining the fold; he was promised he could buy back his freedom if he did well farming the land and soon meets his only companion Thorfinn. What a shift!
Why does this comic book matter?
While being historically accurate and entertaining for its significance the story has been rife with surprises and intense character moments. It has not let the reader down and instead been a page turner like no other. Of course, now that the action is taking a back seat who knows if it can sustain its addictive page turning nature.
This guy is a real dick.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Thorfinn takes the center stage for once. Well, there is his companion slave who works the land with him too, but really we haven’t been focused on Thorfinn like this since the first chapter of the series. He’s a bit older, a lot more weathered and still dealing with a lot of issues. Writer and artist Makoto Yukimura really captures the tortured soul and lost focus of Thorfinn in this book. Without revenge he’s become a husk just happy to be living. To say this book concludes definitely for our hero is an understatement. Yukimura gives him a revelation of sorts and it’s well earned.
It’s also nice to see our prince turned king Canute move about the country and evolve. He no longer has his counsel as he did in the last volume, but he still has Thorkell to do his violent commands. We’re definitely playing a long game with Canute and Thorkill here as they slowly learn who they truly are. Considering these characters aren’t doing much yet you’re still compelled to continue reading is proof he’s crafting some realistic characters with plenty of touching moments.
Yukimura continues to do some amazing things with detailed artwork. It’s true most of this book is close ups of characters talking – it’s mostly character driven and light on action after all – but the sweeping fields and awesome detail in every piece of equipment shows he’s earned the reader’s respect.
Well he hasn’t changed!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Did I mention it’s light on action? Anyone digging the amazing speed and awesome fighting ability of Thorfinn are going to be a bit annoyed here. Thorfinn does get a brief moment to enact violence but really violence is the wrong element to build this character at this point. There is an intense scene near the end that involves zombies, but really this is a tepid read in general.
Sure there isn’t a lot of action but then there is this sequence…yikes!
Despite the tone changing gears a thousand fold it continues to be incredibly addictive reading due to its character driven story.