Review: Helheim #5

20130714-141318.jpgOni Press‘ Viking saga, Helheim, continues to be one of the best new titles of the year. Set in a harsh Scandanavian landscape, the story centers around Rikard, a once fearsome warrior, and now resurrected Draugr (think Norse Frankenstein Zombie) who scours the countryside in search of vengeance. His anger directed at two dueling witches, Bera (who controls the undead) and Groa (who controls the ungodly), both of whom had a hand in his current state. The otherworldly battle between the creatures of the night and Rikard’s army is over, but, after seeing the toll taken, victory is a distant word.

Cullen Bunn‘s writing continues to amaze. At first I was concerned at how quickly Rikard became a Draugr (back in issue #1), but through memories, dialogue, and actions, he is able to keep developing our undead protagonist’s character. He even sheds a sympathetic light on the witches during a talk between Bera and Groa’s insectoid surrogate on their ill-fated actions.

In a perfect pairing, Joelle Jones‘ artwork and Nick Filardi‘s colors breathe life into the otherwise bleak scenery (particularly the reds). The soft pastels and faded panels of Rikard’s childhood with his father is a brilliant contrast to the ax wielding, blood splattered warrior of the present. The winged Draugr was a genius touch, though I wish they had celebrated it more on the cover. Instead of folded wings jumping through the air, they could have had him hunched over, gargoyle-like on the edge of the cliff with them outstretched.

For those that have yet to journey into Oni’s territory, you need not fear, this series is a far cry from their now-popular Scott Pilgrim title. Bunn and Jones continue to push the boundaries, and I have yet to see anything short of excellence.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Joelle Jones
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy