Writer: Doug Wagner, Illustrator: Tim Odland, Colorist: Michelle Madsen, Letterer: Ed Dukeshire.
Growing up, I loved learning about Greek and Roman mythology in school, so I was also a sucker for the Norse mythology I discovered in the pages of Marvel’s The Mighty Thor. Ever since, I have devoured everything I could get my hands on about stories of the Nine Realms. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2001) and Norse Mythology (2017) are more recent favorite books of mine.
So of course, I eagerly claimed an advance copy of Beware The Eye of Odin #1 from Image Comics. Heck, even the creative team sounds like a band of Vikings, with surnames like Wagner, Odland, Madsen, and Dukeshire. At the first glance of Tim Odland’s cover art, it looked like it might be a little too fanciful and cartoony for my taste, but the simplicity of the cover was far surpassed by Odland’s art inside, where he ups the sophistication a level or two. Intricate Norse design motifs are everywhere. Adding gravitas was the impressive complexity of colors and textures throughout the interior pages; every stick or board of wood has texture, as well as stones and every chink of metal. Never mind the disgusting level of detail on the close-up of the slain frost giant’s decapitated head.
As for the story, Prince Helgi’s mission to deliver the Eye Of Odin to the King of the Frost Giants quickly becomes a bit farcical as he is joined by a one-armed blacksmith and a wannabe Valkyrie. Helgi intends to continue on alone, since he is convinced his entire existence is cursed, from the moment of his birth (which his mother did not survive). He also believed that all the stories his father told him when he was growing up were fables, to teach him morals. Not until the frost giant invaded his village and Helgi slew him with a mystical axe, did he have the realization that giants, trolls, elves, and gods were real.
Beware The Eye Of Odin #1 has danger, action, and gore aplenty, all expertly choreographed and illustrated. It’s easy to tell that Odland had a blast drawing the action sequences: the energy and enthusiasm jumps off the page. There’s also lots of character development, with each of the trio getting some backstory and moments in the sun.
In issue #1, it isn’t yet explained how Helgi came to have such a powerful and unusual relic as Odin’s Eye or how he knows where it belongs, but it is an object many beings would kill to possess. Expect this trio to be hunted by all manner of creatures from Norse mythology throughout this miniseries (as the cover montage clearly heralds), which I can highly recommend as being a lot of fun to read and gaze at. Issue #1 was a quick read (I spent more time admiring the art than it took to read the story), but I can’t wait for the next issue.
I rate it 3 out of 5.
Beware The Eye of Odin #1 (of 4) releases June 22 from Image Comics and your Local Comics Shop.