Vault Comics has a genuine hit on its hands with HEATHEN #1, written and drawn by Natasha Alterici. Aydis is an outcast from her Viking culture, a heathen in every sense of the word. Raised by her father to be a warrior, while simultaneously expressing her affections for a fellow woman. This conflict results in a young girl being cast out of her own home and left to fend for herself in the wild. Aydis takes this opportunity to seek out the fallen Valkyrie Brynhild, who is hidden upon the top of a mountain in mystic fire awaiting someone to release her from Odin’s curse. What ensues is the tale of a young woman on her own, tested by her own people, mischievous gods, and the elements.
This book is superb! Absolutely marvelous! Norse mythology is some of the best around, full of gods, pranksters, and monsters. HEATHEN #1 jumps right into the deep end on the first page. I think most comic fans are familiar with the tenants of Norse lore via the Thor franchise. All the players are here including Odin, Loki, Valhalla, Valkyrie, and a yet to be named goddess who is pulling the strings. Aydis is a character readers will instantly fall in love with. Confident, strong, and sure of her own beliefs. Aydis is a fighter and the many layers of her character are already present from the beginning. She speaks to the gods as an equal and acknowledges her forbidden affections for her friend even when it has cost her everything. Alterici has taken Norse myth and woven it in with a modern tale in a way that never feels forced or awkward. The entire story flows naturally from cover to cover. This is a great first issue that sets up an engaging protagonist on an epic quest.
Not to be glossed over, the artwork in this issue is expertly detailed. Alterici has an amazing talent with the fluidity of motion. She draws with a loose pencil and heavy inks. I am gushing over this book! It really is that good and it most definitely is a gem that could be missed by your average reader. If you enjoy Thor from Marvel Comics or Ragnarok from IDW Publishing, I advise you to pick this title up. The mythology is presented amazingly well and with the utmost respect to historical tales. If you missed issue number one, second printings are available and can be ordered. Do yourself a favor and get in touch with World’s Coolest Comics to track down the first few issues and to add Heathen to your pull list.