‘Heathen: Volume 1’ Hits the Shelves This Week

Comic Books Geek Culture Reviews

Written and drawn by Natasha Alterici, this Viking gal has a bone to pick with the Norse gods.

In the beginning, there was a Kickstarter.

In it, the author compelled the audience to help fund her story: a young Viking woman on a mission to end the tyrannical reign of god-king Odin.

Our hero’s name is Aydis: story-teller extraordinaire, huntress supreme, and interested in girls. When she is caught kissing one (for the first time in her life), she is condemned to either marriage to a man or death itself. Her father refuses to kill her and lets her out in the wilderness, where young Aydis decides to start a quest of her own: to challenge the gods.

With the help of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild–and her loyal horse Saga by her side–Aydis will battle, befriend, and outwit several gods, demons, and other fantastic creatures she encounters along the way.

Enter Vault Comics

Once the four issues were completed, Vault Comics decided to publish the first volume. Alterici’s story sparked immediate attention. As you can see, her work is delicate and her characters believable. The themes are absolutely contemporary, although set against an antique background. The goddess Freya, for instance, is a modern goddess, full of absolute love for humanity and incapable of loving just the one human at a time. The difficulties Aydis encounters are challenging from a narrator’s point of view: for example, Brynhild was not released once from her confinement, but several times, by several humans. That’s just one of the problems of being an immortal who has offended Odin, the All Father.

Now, the first volume ends abruptly. Aydis must cross the sea to find herself in the god’s land, and to effectively find a vessel will prove tricky. Interestingly enough, most of the characters she finds have modern views or are strong female figures. Because of this, I can tell you her Nordic world is not at all accurate, it’s just a backdrop for Alterici’s modern story. However, this is a work of fiction, and if it stays true to itself, it will be valid.

Having received a lot of praise, I think Alterici is now under a lot of pressure. She must keep Aydis strong and true, so we can suspend our disbelief and be credulous: just to see her fate sealed, just for the duration of her story. Then, as is the fate of all storytellers, we shall pass judgment, and decide whether this journey was worth it or not.

Featured images by Natasha Alterici

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