Stefani Sloma

Here Be Monsters…and Dead Gods in Ragnarok #1

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Walter Simonson’s first creator-owned comic in 20 years published by IDW, Ragnarok, is full of epic art, but leaves a little to be desired when it comes to the writing.

Ragnarok #1 cover

WRITER: Walter Simonson
ARTIST: Walter Simonson
COLORIST: Laura Martin
LETTERER: John Workman
RELEASE DATE: July 23, 2014

Try Ragnarok #1 for the apocalypse Norse style!

Ragnarok has happened. If you don’t know what that is, basically in Norse mythology, a bunch of crazy natural disasters have taken place that have wiped out humanity and many if not all of the major gods have died – Odin, Thor, Loki, Freyr, etc. The beginning of Ragnarok’s first issue beautifully lays out what has occurred. Brynja, a dark elf, is hired to hunt down and kill one of these dead gods (hint: his hammer bars the door to where he’s being kept).

Walter Simonson is taking on familiar territory. He was the writer and artist behind Thor from 1983-1987, so he knows this world really well. It’s easy to tell what he’s doing right from the beginning. By the way, the intro to this comic is AWESOME. Simonson is a really great artist – he really knows how to draw monsters. However, the actually writing leaves something to be desired at times and at others is a little over the top. The words are clunky and even strange at times. In my opinion, it doesn’t quite live up to the epic artwork it is supposed to complement.

Brynja, the dark elf assassin hired to hunt down a god, is a pretty cool character. She’s a mom – we see her putting her kid to sleep and worrying about the future – but then she’s the one who goes out on the quest. Can you say badass? Other than having a female heroine, everything else is typical for an epic fantasy. Everything that happens can be predicted: assassin is hired to kill someone; s(he) must find a band of fellow assassins to join her/him; they go on a long journey to find the place where the victim lives; etc. etc. There is little to no character development which leaves the first issue to lay out the story and what will follow. This results in a pretty bleak issue, in my opinion. Future issues will definitely need to develop the characters and complicate things a little or else Ragnarok will be a little boring and predictable.

People have said this comic is like a throwback to Simonson’s comics in the ’80s, but since I haven’t read many from that time (and I wasn’t born yet), I can’t compare it. I’ll just say that, for me, this one was good. Just good. Nothing spectacular (though the art was pretty epic) but a good, fun read.

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