Review: Oni Press’ Helheim #1 by Bunn & Jones

helheim

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Cullen Bunn’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed his all ages novel Crooked Hills (Earwig Press), his recently released short story collection Creeping Stones (Evileye Books), and all of his comic work on titles such as The Damned, The Sixth Gun, Superman/Batman: The Sorcerer Kings, Marvel’s Fear Itself, and what I thought was an absolutely amazing run on Wolverine.

And that’s really just scratching the surface. Bunn is a breath of fresh air and I felt an immediate connection to his writing from the start. We’re of a similar age, with similar influences scattered throughout pop culture.

Nowhere is that more evident than in his latest project from Oni Press — HELHEIM, a “weird viking” comic set in 580 AD in “The North”.

Bunn has crafted a fantastic tale, pitting a beleaguered band of Norsemen, led by a seasoned warrior named Rikard, against a sinister witch and her undead minions. Invoking Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, Bunn delivers a story that is unrelenting, thundering along at a breakneck pace and culminating in a terrific twist ending (that’s somewhat spoiled by the cover art unfortunately).

Speaking of art. This what not something I expected from Joelle Jones, let me tell you. I’ve had my eye on Jones ever since her two issue run on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu a few years back and boy, does she deliver on Hellheim. This young lady knows her craft. Her line work is fluid, with a great blend of realistic and fantastical elements and there’s some real weight to the characters. And Jones does not shy away from the gore, of which there is plenty.

Helheim is slated for a March release from Oni Press and I really think this is going to be one of the stand-out books of 2013. I mean, it’s got Vikings, Witches, & the Undead? Talk about your match made in… well, I guess you’d have to say Helheim, now wouldn’t you.

Between this and Bunn’s forthcoming The Fearless Defenders from Marvel Comics in February, this looks to be his year (and that’s saying something after the impressive run he’s had for the past several). As far as I’m concerned, if it’s got Cullen Bunn’s name on it, I’m bringing it home. It’s really that simple.

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