Vinland Saga, Vol. 8
After a long, painful journey, Thorfinn is home. Unfortunately the family reunion is short lived as he sets out once to seek out his destiny and to make amends for his blood spattered past. With fellow freed slave, Einar and the legendary Leif Erickson, Thorfinn leaves to establish a peaceful society in Vinland. Before he can do that, he’ll need money, supplies and men. To this end he seeks out the wealth viking, Halfdan. What should be a simple yes or no proposal quickly becomes complicated with weddings, misunderstandings and more, as Makoto Yukimura’s viking epic continues, with Vinland Saga, Vol. 8!
The father and son theme continues with Halfdan and his son Sigurd. Sigurd clearly wants to live up to his father’s reputations and expectations, but he keeps falling short. In this volume he repeatedly disappoints his father for jumping to conclusions and getting stabbed on his wedding night. What’s most interesting about Sigurd isn’t his longing for parental approval, but the loyalty and camaraderie that his warriors and allies show him. They affectionately refer to him as Siggy and do their best to cheer up despite his occasional abusive outbursts. One telling moment in their relationship come when Sigurd claims that great leaders must inspire fear in those around, to which they respond with a mixture of confusion before telling him that fear isn’t why they hang around him. It’s interesting to see an antagonist whose portrayal bounces between fearsome and dangerous, to kind of sad and desperate.
Another thing that helps make Sigurd an interesting and enjoyable antagonist is Makoto Yukimura’s decision to give him a rather unique weapon. So far we’ve seen warriors fighting with fairly traditional weaponry, Thorkell’s penchant for using trees as javelins aside, but Sigurd is armed with a pair of chains. It’s a very different fighting style that produces some fantastic moments thanks to Yukimura’s amazingly kinetic artwork. The way he uses the chains isn’t just enjoyable to see, but it informs and reveals aspects of his character and shows his desire to follow in the footsteps of his father, Halfdan the Chainer. The chains are a physical representation of how he and his family maintain control over their servants, through financial bondage and debt repayment. It’s one of many flourishes that help make Vinland Saga a consistently fantastic read.
Vinland Saga, Vol. 8 is the kick off of the next major arc. Thorfinn and his friends encounter new allies and enemies, with new obstacles which promise to send them to the furthest reaches of their known world. With this eighth installment, Makoto Yukimura hasn’t lost a step and he continues to spin a wonderfully compelling tale. The series continues to be a must read and one of the best series on the shelves. Highly recommended!
Vinland Saga, Vol. 8 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.