Northlanders is a series of graphic novels, in the genre of historical drama, set in the Viking era.

It's about the clash between Vikings and Saxons, Christianity and Paganism, told through the eyes of ordinary people as well as extraordinary warriors.

Northlanders is full of true historical references and contains absolutely no superheroes.

The Art of Northlanders is truly remarkable: beautiful, gloomy, and intense.

So if you like Vikings, history based fiction, and comics - this one is for you.

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Graphic Novel Review

Vertigo Comics's Northlanders 1: Sven The Returned
It's a damn cold night.

Graphic Novel Review , 1 May 2009 by Eilonvi

From the bright and warm Constantinople, the greatest city of his time, to the cold shores of his childhood, the tale of Sven the returned sways us immediately into darkly painted sceneries, all the way into the long hard winter of Orkney Islands.

Sven is a ruthless warrior, part of the highly acclaimed Varngians guard of the city Constantinople. He has wealth and he has love. What then, drives him back to the forgotten lands of his childhood? He seems to be haunted by his past, for he had not always been the skillful warrior that he is now.

Back home in the Orkney Islands, Sven finds his people even more wretched and gloomy than he remembered them as a child. His Mother took her own life after his father had been killed. His evil uncle Gorm had assumed the ruler's title and wealth of Sven's father, which by birthright should have been passed onto Sven.

Sven's original plan was to fight Gorm and take back his gold, leaving the island as fast as he can, caring not for the forgotten savage Norsemen, who were once his father's people. The island holds a different fate for Sven though, as things do not go exactly as planned. New lessons are learnt, and Sven is to pay dearly for his defiance of Gorm.

This is the story in a nutshell. It is one of the stories where you keep waiting for that 'something' to happen, but it never does. You enjoy the story as you go, but in the end you feel a bit like 'huh?'

The comic started with considerable promise for action and extraordinary deeds, but does not quite hold to its own promise, much the same as the protagonist does not stick to his original plans. It is essentially the story of a young man, whose daring plans are slowly worn down by the passing years and the long hardship of many winters; he renounces his goals and finds solace in a more tender and subtle love than he was used to in his youth - not the usual storyline flow for a comic book.

You do get a decent amount of bloody Viking sword fighting, learn some historical facts and mostly, enjoy the comic's art, which is pretty special. It is darkly shaded and 'rough', efficiently throwing you into the dismal ambient of the story. I have mixed feelings in regards to this one; on one hand I expected something else, since I do prefer a fantastic flare to my comics. On the other hand I do appreciate the attempt to create a subtle storyline. I will keep on reading to volume 2, and see what goes; I will let ya know.

Northlanders 1: Sven The Returned
Northlanders 1: Sven The Returned
Comics Info

A review of Northlanders book 1, which collects Northlanders 1-8.
Published: 2008
Language: English
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Download a free issue from DC Comics
Go to Northlanders site
Pages: 200
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover: Massimo Carnevale

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