Home > Comic Reviews, Reviews > Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories

Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories

Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor's Daughter and Other StoriesNorthlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories
Written by Brian Wood, Art by Marian Churchland, Simone Gane and Matthew Woodson
DC/Vertigo, 128 pp
Rating: Mature Readers

Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories is the latest volume in Brian Wood’s historical fiction series, Northlanders, and consists of three short stories. It opens with the three part “The Siege of Paris”, focusing on a siege gone horribly wrong from the point of view of a professional soldier for hire. The second story, “The Hunt”, follows a solitary hunter who’s lost everything, his children, his wife, his family as he refuses to lose his current prey regardless of the cost. And rounding out the volume is the titular “Thor’s Daughter” which gives us a glimpse of a young girl named Birna forced into adulthood following the death of her father at the hands of rivals.

The three stories, like nearly every other story in the Northlanders series, are stand alone tales and require no previous knowledge of the world, the characters or anything else. This means that despite being volume six in the series, the stories are just as accessible and new reader friendly as the first volume was. All three of the stories were very entertaining but at the same time I was surprised by their length. “The Hunt”, for me, is the stand out. Wood does a fantastic job at getting across the desperation of the hunter. His need to succeed and prove that he’s still capable of providing for himself was palpable. “Thor’s Daughter”, oddly enough, was probably my least favorite. The idea and the concept are sound and left me wanting to see more of Birna and how her story played out and it almost felt like the first chapter in a longer tale. I was definitely left wanting more from it. “The Siege of Paris” was an interesting tale and I enjoyed how the lead character had an almost man out of time feel to him. His desires clashed with those in power who were willing to settle wars through political discourse and money, something that was almost a personal affront to his raiding and pillaging sensibility. The fact that Wood was able to make a character who was looking to slaughter and loot a city sympathetic and enjoyable is a bit of a testament to his skills as a writer.

The artwork for the volume is a little hit and miss in places. While Marian Churchland does an absolutely fantastic job with “Thor’s Daughter” and Matthew Woodson’s work on “The Hunt” is equally lovely, something about Simone Gane’s work in “The Siege of Paris” just didn’t click for me. It was rough and ugly, certainly fitting for a story about a three month long siege from the grunt’s point of view, but at the same time there was an awkwardness and cartoonishness to it that undercut some of the epic moments and some of the emotional impact of certain scenes.

Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories probably wasn’t my favorite of the Northlanders series, but it was still an enjoyable and entertaining read. The short story nature of the volume means you get a good cross section of the kind of tales that Brian Wood is trying to tell with the series; massive historical war epics, more intimate tales of humanity and loss, and stories about people finding themselves and struggling with situations not of their making. It might not be the greatest introduction to the series, but it’s still far better than much of what’s coming out of the American comic book industry at the minute and is worth a look.

Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor’s Daughter and Other Stories is available now from Vertigo Comics.

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