REVIEW: Wolves of Odin
Release Date: 26 November 2008
Writer and Artist: Grant Gould
Publisher: Super Real Graphics
In this retelling of a classic rivalry, vikings go toe-to-toe with werewolves in the harsh climate of the icy North. Here’s the official blurb:
“The rise of Christianity amongst the north-men has frustrated Odin, Father of the Norse Gods. Out of jealousy and anger, he has transformed three of his most loyal berserkers into unstoppable beasts, and set them loose upon his traitorous “followers”.
Thor, God of Thunder, takes it upon himself to challenge his father’s madness by aiding a loyal warrior of his own: the viking Tyr. Along with the help of a witch and two strangers, Tyr must face the wolves and realize his own destiny.”
I’ve known Grant for almost ten years now (I can’t believe it’s been that long) through the power of the Internet. I’ve watched as he went from a graphic artist working for The Man, doing art in his free time, to a full-blown professional freelance illustrator kicking butt and taking names for companies such as Lucasfilm and Topps. He even did a piece for Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse of Lost! Throughout the entire journey, he’s always been one of the nicest guys to know and is still a pleasure to talk with when he comes up from his insane workload for air.
Wolves of Odin is his first “official” venture into the world of graphic novels (he self-published his comic Wraith in 2002), doing both the writing and the art for the book.
Like I said, this is a story about man going up against monsters, viking versus werewolf, and it delivers in spades. The action sequences are played out fantastically and don’t wimp out on the blood. Grant has a real knack for creating the sense of action and drama in his drawings. He definitely has a style all his own, and as a fellow artist I appreciate that and know how hard it can be to develop sometimes. There are times when you can tell he was a little rushed, but it does not take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. When I think about some of the art I’ve seen in comics lately, Grant’s “rushed” work is hands down more pleasant to look at than most of the stuff out there now.
The story itself goes beyond just “vikings vs. werewolves” as he adds a sense of history to it. Grant incorporates the conversion of the Norse from their traditional polytheistic religion to Christianity, as well as elements of their traditional religion. There’s nothing I love more than a writer who researches his subject. While it is his story, Grant’s pulled enough research on Nordic mythology that it feels like an authentic Viking tale.
He ends the book with a cliffhanger ending that left me going, “NO! I have to know what happens next!” So it’s a good thing Wolves of Odin starts back up as a web comic later this month. If you like vikings, werewolves, history, and good art and storytelling, pick this bad boy up! For only $10 USD (that’s including the shipping cost), you get all of that in full color on 64 pages, and you help independent/small publishers help artists like Grant tell their stories.