One might call Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones’ new Oni Press series Helheim a “sword and sorcery” series, think Conan, in a sense, and you’d probably be pretty accurate. There was initially a lot of hype behind this new series from Sixth Gun creator and current Venom scribe was announced. Who doesn’t like sword fights with a little bit of creepy magic on the side? Nobody, that’s who! The fact that this series takes place in 580 A.D and in “the North,” not to be confused with the territory beyond The Wall, can only mean one thing – VIKINGS!
The fact that this is set in a distant time filled with the undead, magic, swords and Vikings has only made this RCB reviewer more excited to see what Cullen Bunn has conjured up for this new series. First issues are always a challenge because you really have to capture your reader with the intro to your story in order make sure that they come back for more. Make no mistake about it, this first issue grabs you, slams you to the ground and hog ties you while giggling maniacally. There’s a brief introduction to a handful of characters, significant and otherwise, and the mention of some far off “witch” that has been threatening their settlement. All of that is sandwiched between a life-and-death chase through the frozen North, and a couple of sword fights with the same enemy. That’s right, the same enemy. Definitely a sequence that you won’t want to miss!
Speaking of which, Joelle Jones has absolutely nailed this first issue. The characters all have clear, distinct looks, the setting is beautifully crafted and the fight scenes are expertly choreographed. Taking on the role of “illustrated,” one can assume that Joelle Jones not only drew these excellent panels but also inked and colored as well. It’s always a treat to watch and artist complete the entire process themselves because you really get a feel for who the artist is and what the artist can do—think Fiona Staples! Jones’ art really does steal the show, not to say Cullen Bunn’s work isn’t equally impressive, and sets the standard for the rest of the series going forward.
This book may not be for everybody, but it is definitely a book you should check out if you’re even a little big curious. The wait for this issue has been Hel (see what I did there?) but it’s certainly paid off big time. The last few pages are exciting, shocking and unexpected. Sit down, strap in and get ready for what is going to be one hell of a ride with Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones’ Helheim. You won’t be disappointed.