Runes of Ragnan #1, from Silent Devil Productions, is a comic that delivers every thing months of sneak peeks and tempting interviews have been teasing, and in true comic style leaves you not wanting to wait for issue #2. With issue #1, writer Ty Gorton and artist Josh Medors drive the readers right into the dark world they created - made up of Viking historic fact blended with fantasy elements.
They also quickly introduce you to the warrior Eldjarn (a hero that Conan creator Robert Howard would enjoy reading) - who is racing against time to save a local village girl from being sacrificed as part of an evil plan by Eldjarnís brother Gunnarr.
Just as the creators do a great job of introducing Eldjarn in issue #1, they also do an excellent job of keeping Gunnarr in the shadows.
The villain seems larger than life through his brotherís narration, and twice as evil through the use of keeping him mostly hidden in darkness from the reader.
The first issue begins to reveal that Gunnarr has some evil scheme in mind, and that Eldjarn is compelled to stop it at any cost. This plan isnít laid out for the reader in the issue, but hinted at towards the end as Eldjarn attempts to stop the sacrifice.
Although the creators are slowly revealing the plot in issue #1, they donít hold back on any of the action and blood. Eldjarn may be the hero of the book, but he is also quick to draw his sword.
He also doesnít seem to mind killing anyone who plans on getting in the way of his quest to stop his brother Ė and by stop I am pretty sure I mean kill.
Some of Eldjarnís temper is seen in the opening pages of the book as the hero severs the arm of a bar keeper - who happens to be between him and a man Eldjarn intends to question.
Later in the comic, we see Eldjarn is also more than just a thug, but a skilled warrior. This is shown in the way he kills several of Gunnarrís men in a fight where he is out numbered. He doesnít mow through them like Superman, but through skill of sword.
Of course, the issue ends, as all great comics do, with a panel that is just going to make readers beg for issue #2.
Runes of Ragnan is a comic that delivers a great story that blends elements of fantasy and actual Viking lore. Gortonís story quickly sucks you into the comic, and keeps your interest through every page. Most important, the first issue leaves you wanting more, and not completely sure where Gorton is going with his story.
Adding to Gortonís story is Medorsí art - that does a great job of showing the bookís brutal and dark tone. He also does an excellent job in the battle scenes by making the panels seem as chaotic and as fast pace as an actual battle. Medors doesnít shy away from Gortonís dark story, but adds to it through close-ups on the characters and the bloody action.
Overall, Runes of Ragnan #1 is a comic that I would recommend to any fan of fantasy comics, or even horror comics. The book sets a brutal dark opening for what looks to be a great story.
The first issue lives up to the hype that has been building since Silent Devil began promoting it. I, personally, canít wait for issue #2, and to find out just where the creators are taking their story and the readers.
Runes of Ragnan will retail for $2.95 and will hit comic stands in September. Visit the comicís database for more information on the title. You can also visit Runes of Ragnan or Silent Devil for more details on this and other comics available from the publisher.