The End of Days has come! Ragnarok is here! So is Walt Simonson artwork! Major Spoilers has your review!
Previously in Ragnarok: In Norse lore, the enemies of the Gods will rise up and attempt to conquer the world. This will be called Ragnarok. In this book, the evil has triumphed and the Gods are dead.
NORSE SCHOLARS WILL LOVE THIS
Readers who know and love Norse mythology will go crazy for Ragnarok. Walt Simonson has done his homework and goes as far as to quote from actual stories. Even those like me completely ignorant of the lore will still enjoy this. The story is fun enough that I didn’t feel bothered by my lack of knowledge, though I did have someone educate me somewhat. It’s clear this will be an adventure story as we follow Brynja, a dark elf who has taken the job to assassinate a god. Her payment will allow her daughter to be an immortal. At the end of the issue we learn the god she must kill is Thor, who is chained to a stone throne, decaying, and missing his jaw. I feel like I’ve been seeing more female leads in comics lately, which is great, and Brynja is no exception. Whether readers are supposed to recognize some of the names is unclear and there are confusing sections. Who has hired Brynja is a mystery unless we’re supposed to know him from Norse mythology. Names of people and places are similar and it was difficult to differentiate at first. We’re also told of the evils ruling the world but never quite shown any. Experts on the subject will no doubt love this book but I fear regular readers will be slightly turned off. Still, it’s a good start to an adventure story that even basic fans of this genre will enjoy. Plus, I need to know how Thor lost his jaw.
ONE OF THE GREATS
Walt Simonson is considered one of the great comic artists (by some at least) and it’s clear in Ragnarok that he’s more than earned it. Every page looks great and his spreads are breathtaking. His love for Norse lore is evident throughout and he’s putting his heart into every single line. If you don’t find the two page spread of Thor fighting the serpent amazing, I’d suggest getting your head examined. The panel of the fortress Kliffborg is mind blowing in the perspective’s accuracy and makes me sad I’ll never be able to draw that well. His Thor is creepy and truly looks like a god. I due have issues with some of his faces as they sometimes look skewed but it’s a rare occurrence. Colorist Laura Martin, who worked on Preacher, brings her A game as well and every page is spectacular. She applies a sepia tone to the opening flashback which works nicely. This book is worth a purchase for the artwork alone.
BOTTOM LINE: TOP TIER BOOK, MUST BUY
Ragnarok #1 is definitely one of this week’s top books. Walt Simonson is telling an epic adventure story that fans of the genre will enjoy. Norse mythology enthusiasts will get more out of it than the average reader which may hurt the book some. Even if you’re not interested in the story you should buy this for the pretty pictures. And jawless Thor.