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 at the same time expressing her affections for a fellow woman results in a young girl being cast out of her own home and left to fend for herself in the wild. She 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 great! Absolutely great! Norse mythology is some of the best around, full of gods, pranksters, and monsters and 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 comics and movies. All the players are here including Odin, Loki, Valhalla, Valkyrie, and an as yet to be named goddess who is pulling the strings. Aydis herself 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 in only one issue. She speaks to the gods as an equal and acknowledges her forbidden affections for her friend even when it has cost her everything she has. Alterici has taken Norse myth and woven a modern tale into it in a way that never feels forced or awkward. The entire store flows naturally from cover to cover and the result is a great first issue that sets up an engaging protagonist on an epic quest.
Not to be glossed over is the stunning art. Alterici draws with a loose pencil and heavy inks. The characters and backgrounds are all expertly detailed and she has an amazing talent with the fluidity of motion. I am gushing over this book but it really is that good and it most definitely is a gem that might be missed by most readers. If you enjoy Thor from Marvel Comics or Ragnarok from IDW Publishing then please pick this title up, the mythology is present amazingly well and with the utmost respect. If you missed issue number one second printings are available and can be ordered so get in touch with World’s Coolest Comics and track the first few issues down and be sure to add Heathen to your pull list.