Hey, first things first, sorry about missing Thursday Morning Cartoons last week. I was pretty deathly sick to my stomach Thursday-Saturday, so I figured I’d just stick to the schedule and it will resume this Thursday with the Animaniacs. All right, so now on to the article at hand. Welcome to Comics You Should Be Reading. This week we’re going to be looking at Black Road #1. I’m not going to mince words here:
GO BUY THIS COMIC NOW. Ok? Ok. Brian Wood is no stranger to Vikings, he’s worked with them on his epic Northlanders (a fantastic read that everyone should go check out). Here he returns to the North to give us a new tale of epic proportions. This time the setting is during the Christian conversion of the North with the church coming in to convert and rule the northern populace. Our protagonist Magnus is hired by the church to escort a cardinal from one part of the country to a much further north section along the treacherous titular road.
The book shoves a ton of world and character building into this issue, enough to really whet my appetite for the story to come. If there’s one big drawback to the issue is that it might be trying to do too much in one issue. You don’t really feel for anyone but Magnus because you don’t have time to get to know them well enough. Maybe this is intentional? But personally it pulls me out of the experience just enough to hesitate calling this a perfect read.
The art is rough around the edges in that intentionally sketchy way that makes it feel appropriate for a gritty viking tale. The muted tones really give the sense that the Northern country is under oppressive rule. There’s a palpable sense of time passing in the art as Magnus and his cardinal charge travel along the Black Road, the weather changing abruptly from page to page in a great example of showing instead of telling. The highlight of the book art-wise is the back half. From a thrilling fight to a horrifying vision, the art just wows.
Black Road is the start of something special. Do yourself a favor and go pick it up for a read. This is especially true if you enjoy historical settings or Vikings.
What are you reading this week? Did you check out the issue? Or any of the past issues I’ve covered? Thanks For Reading!
- Sylverfyst is a writer for TAY, a web developer, and an avid comics fan. He’s often seen being a fabulous VIKING all around the web, drop him a line at @Sylverfyst on twitter or at his ConTAYct Page