Synopsis: Ragnar Lothbrok has become the king of the vikings, but this mantle has cost him dearly. Ragnar is betrayed by his brother, Rollo, and a costly battle has ensued. This is only the beginning of the king’s problems because the horrors from the battlefield follow the viking home. The unrest in his mind is mirrored by those of his family and confidants. However, the greatest threat may come from either his subjects or the gods themselves.
Review: Vikings Uprising #1 starts in the midst of a brutal battle. Ragnar and Rollo are brothers yet foes. When the bloodshed has ended, Ragnar emerges victorious; the price is heavy. The king, now plagued with the burden of what has occurred, seems haunted and distant to those around him. He is battle-scarred; moreover, today we would call it post traumatic stress disorder. Writer Cavan Scott deftly adds this modern understanding to an ancient problem. It humanizes the main character in a smart way. It then makes sense that Ragnar’s son, Bjorn begins to witness the erosion of his idol. His estranged wife, Lagertha, watches as the man she loved, and still harbors some feeling for, become a shade of what he once was. The tension continues to mount as the animosity between Ragnar’s first wife and his current wife, Queen Lagertha, begins to roil over. This powerful man is powerless to solve the tension within his family.
Meanwhile, civil unrest begins to ferment in the kingdom. Slave owners demonstrate abject cruelty the people they own. Is this the way of life that Ragnar has fought so hard to protect? The appearance of The Ser, the living embodiment of the older ways, reinforces these people are in the midst of a time of great change. A change that will only come with much violence and loss. Scott depiction of this is astute and much appreciated.
The art team for Vikings Uprising has done a fantastic job. The first page is a sight to behold, and the opening battle scenes and the slave revolt are full of power and rage. Thankfully, scenes are clear and easy to follow without being simple. There is a palpable feel in the air. Daniel Indro’s pencils bring this ancient world to life, and Kevin Enhart brings an authenticity to it. At times, you can almost hear the sounds of village life and the smell of hearth fires. The only thing that seems slightly off is the lettering choice for this issue. It can be a bit distracting since it flits from aptly rustic to sleek and modern. The latter doesn’t fit too well. This is not to say that Jim Campbell did not do an impressive job (The narration boxes are on point!). However, the dialogue word balloons stick out like a sore thumb.
Titan Comics has a gem on their hands. Even if have never watched the television series Vikings, the debut issues for the new series captures the allure of its source material. Any lover of period pieces with longboats and swords should pick up this issue. They will not be disappointed.