No that’s not a mistake, you read it right. Vikings vs. Unicorns #1 is a comic book about vicious vikings fighting an even more vicious enemy: Unicorns! You know you’re at least a little curious, so what are you waiting for? Read on your rainbow-colored blood soaked review!
Previously in Vikings vs. Unicorns: You know unicorns, the cute horses with horns who are cuddly and sweet? Turns out that’s all a lie perpetuated by an evil conspiracy. They are savage and brutal beasts with immense power. Vikings vs. Unicorns is the tale of a ragtag band of Vikings out for revenge and needing to stop an oncoming unicorn invasion!
SPRINKLES THE IMPALER!
Yup! Sprinkles. The. Impaler. That’s the name of one of the evil unicorns that the vikings fight in the opening issue of this insane series, Vikings vs. Unicorns. I had no idea what to expect going in, minus the info I was given with the review copy but I knew one thing: with a concept like vikings fighting unicorns there was no way I wasn’t going to read this.
And I quite enjoyed myself, minus a few hiccups. The issue starts with a band of vikings hunting a unicorn, about to kill it, but since this is the mighty Sprinkles the Impaler a battle ensues. Many of the vikings are sliced, crushed and, of course, impaled. Eventually Sprinkles meets his end thanks to a mighty viking named Hord and we learn one of my favorite flash facts about unicorns: They have rainbow-colored blood. There are lots of dementedly humorous elements such as this throughout the issue and it’s hard not to chuckle. So much is written with childlike enthusiasm that it felt like reading Axe Cop at times (“This unicorn’s name is Sprinkles the Impaler. He’s a total jerk!”) Jim Tramontana does a brilliant job using real Norse mythology and weaving it in to his twisted tale. A special tool that the vikings use to remove the unicorn’s horns is forged by Odin’s son Vali. As funny as it is to say, it adds some authenticity to the story. Unfortunately there are moments where Tramontana does more showing than telling. While the beginning is told as a narration of sorts, there are moments when what is happening on the page is also being described. I understand what Tramontana was attempting, but I think if he had pulled back and let the art do more of the talking it would have helped. Not all of the humor hits either and I found the bar room scene not particularly funny. Overall, this is one fun and brutal book and I enjoyed the time I spent reading it.
ENJOYABLE AND FRUSTRATING
KC Anderson’s work certainly has a defining style and it’s hard to hold some of my criticisms against it. He keeps many of his sketch lines visible in some of the characters and panels and while it can look cool, often I found it to seem unfinished. Some of the pencil lines are inked or drawn over more heavily while others are clearly the ones used while fleshing out the figures. As an artist, it was hard for me not to notice and I found it frustratingly distracting. It’s part of the man’s style I know, but it didn’t work for me. The vikings look great and each one has a distinct appearance making them visually unique. The coloring is bright and wonderful, even during the night scenes. Anderson does a brilliant job at the Norse writing that borders each page. Again, it’s something that shows the creator’s love of the content and wanting to put their knowledge of vikings and Norse lore in the book.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH PICKING UP ISSUE #1
You’re not likely to come across something like Vikings vs. Unicorns #1 any time soon. The concept sounds ridiculous, and it is to some degree, but Jim Tramontana and KC Anderson make it work. It’s a fun book in the vein of Axe Cop but more brutal and coherent. There may be some problems in the storytelling and art but there is enough here that I recommend at least checking out the first issue. Fans of vikings and Norse mythology will really get a kick out of this one. Unicorn lovers on the other hand…well… Vikings vs. Unicorns #1 is available now on Comixology or you can order the print copy at www.redhotrebellion.com