The comic opens on a young Viking woman. She stands in the snow with a horse, idly telling it an old tale of the Gods and Valkyries. In the style of an ancient storyteller, she talks of Brynhild, Valkyrie Queen cursed for the crime of disobeying Odin.
Her story comes to a halt when they're interrupted by her friend, and it's revealed that our storyteller (Aydis) has been driven out of her clan for the crime of kissing another girl. Her father was ordered to sentence her either to death or to marriage. He chose death, but let her go: off on her own, to find a life she can lead.
Aydis doesn't seem scared--rather, she shows eagerness to go out into the world and chase her own destiny; soon, we learn that her design is to find the fabled Brynhild. The valkyrie's curse is to marry a mortal, but a mortal of her choosing. She waits, engulfed in a holy flame, for the mortal brave enough to earn her hand. Which is exactly what Aydis plans to do.
That's the most fantastic premise I have ever heard. Keep in mind, I'm a young queer woman, not much older than Aydis appears in the comic. And going in, I didn't know this was about lesbian Viking warriors. It might be the first time I've ever found representation of myself at this level without actively seeking it out.
But that's not where my love for this ends. It's so well executed, and heart-wrenchingly good. It combines that otherworldly, mythological vibe of an epic journey with some really powerful concepts and dialogues that just pack a punch.
For instance, it doesn't live exclusively in the realm of myth: it addresses its historical context. During our story, Christianity is beginning to spread throughout the Nordic regions. In one scene, Brynhild confronts a mob of villagers who are looking to put a witch to death. Having been away from the world for so long, she demands why they would attack a witch--someone performing a job thats been integral to their society for generations upon generations. We see firsthand how this is a changing world, yet the problems the villagers are so keen to punish the witch for resonate powerfully from a modern context.
Throughout the story, we're introduced to a diverse cast of characters from many walks of life, but their struggles are timeless. They're relatable, even though they're worlds away.
herself as such, but she returns to the craft time and time again. Through her retellings, we see glimpses of the world and reality she lives in, as well as how she sees the world: what makes her a warrior, and why she thinks it meaningful to be one.
We see iconic figures of Nordic mythology, as well as lesser known creatures and beings. But the narrative always stays true to the tone of that ultimate source content, and transports you to a time when magic and Gods were wilder and messier and absolute.
This was a completely beautiful work of literature and art. It was visually stunning, and it left me absolutely needing more. It tackles issues and ideas that are so close to my heart, and it does so in a way that's somehow responsible and brave. I want everyone to read this.