Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Batman: Court of Owls Volume 1
Next story: Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid on the Hudson

Northlanders, Book 4: The Plague Widow

Brian Wood (Author), Leandro Fernandez (Illustrator)

> Review by Mike Lavin

Northlanders is a seven-volume series published under DC’s Vertigo imprint, presenting a collection of unrelated stories which take place during the Viking Age. Some focus on Viking raiders, but many examine seldom-seen tales of Norse traders, explorers and settlers. A common theme is the often bleak and brutal nature of life in that era. The volumes need not be read in numerical order. The Plague Widow is a gripping tale of survival under horrific circumstances. Set in a small Viking settlement along the Volga River in the year 1020, the story focuses on Hilda, the attractive widow of a wealthy merchant killed by plague. Through Hilda’s eyes, writer Brian Wood provides a nuanced view of a woman’s role in Viking society. Because they live in a trading community, all the inhabitants are vulnerable to the rapidly spreading plague. As winter sets in, Boris, a Christian priest, convinces the chieftain to seal the walls against outside contact. Violence and chaos erupt when the townspeople revolt against their enforced isolation and hunger.Hilda must now do everything in her power to protect herself and her young daughter from the predations of local strongman Gunborg and his thugs. Artist Leandro Fernandez perfectly captures the harsh landscapes, violent action, and anguished faces required by such a dark and desperate story. This collection also includes eight beautifully-painted splash pages by cover artist Massimo Carnevale.

blog comments powered by Disqus