Review: Norse Mythology #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Story and Words: Neil Gaiman
Script and Layouts: P. Craig Russell
Letters: Galen Showman
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology #5 continues the story of Loki’s children. Fenris the wolf is growing every day and Odin’s dreams are full of warning.
Positives — Loki’s Children
The story of Tyr and Fenris begins with heartfelt companionship. They laugh and play, and Fenris responds to Tyr like a dog to its master. But the size of Fenris frightens the Aesir.
Odin dreams of Fenris violently attacking. He makes a decision. A quest to find chains that can bind Fenris leads Odin to commission the Dwarves. The magic they use creates a material that is weightless like silk. It is the only thing that can bind Fenris and leave him helpless. Fenris is the best character in this story. Fenris can talk. When he suddenly speaks Galen Showman makes the words rumble with ferocity.
Neil Gaiman writes about Norse Mythology with confidence. He knows the characters and setting. Then he folds them into his narrative with one sentence. Mimir’s Well and Skirnir the Light Elf are introduced in one panel. David Rubin’s art and colors make the Norse symbols and the ethereal nature of magic appear fresh and original.
Positives — Freya’s Unusual Wedding
Gaiman’s mastered the completion of one story and the beginning of a second story all in the same issue. The second story always ends in a cliffhanger. Readers who can never get enough of great writing wouldn’t have it any other way.
Freya’s Unusual Wedding begins with the legendary bravery of Thor and the love he holds for his hammer Mjolnir. Thor’s missing hammer sets events in motion. Loki is recruited to help Thor find his hammer. But it is how Loki uses a feathered cloak borrowed from Freya to transform into a falcon that urges the reader to pay closer attention. And why the engaged reader is left wondering where the story will go when it picks up in Norse Gods #6.
Only fans who dislike classic tales will find fault with these stories.
Legendary stories are tapestries woven with threads of history. Neil Gaiman unravels the old stories, studies the fabrics, and weaves them anew with a new thread weaved with strands of imagination. The result is a playful knowing tone. One that has told this story before and knows not only how it ends, but how to lead the reader to a satisfying conclusion.
Showman’s letters belie this understanding. The shape and texture impart the weight and nobility of Odin and the narrator. The wrath of Fenris makes them shudder. The sorrow of Tyre hides them in shadow. And when Thor, Odin, and Balder laugh, it is like a three-part harmony for the eyes. But it is the colors of Rubin and Thompson that give each word context. Norse Mythology #5 is a chorus of glory performed by a symphony of talent.