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Viking: The Long Cold Fire


Written by Ivan Brandon; art by Nic Klein

May 02, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

If you want a case in point of why comics on the iPad (or a similar device) will never replace good old paper, point people to Viking: The Long Cold Fire, by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein. Holy jeez, this hardbound, oversized book is beautiful. It just screams, “read me.” The cover treatment is exciting and mysterious and modern all at once; the red-haired beauty with the fire in her eye and the cocksure half-smile seals the deal. Tom Muller is credited with the logo and cover design.

The collection reprints Viking issues 1-5, and also has beautiful bonus material: character sketches and pre-designs; 15 pinups by such guest artists as Phil Noto, Rafael Albuquerque, Skottie Young, and a dozen other super-talented artists. If it sounds like I am most excited about the bonus stuff and cover treatment, you’re spot on. Not that the core material is poor by any means; it is also quite compelling and intriguing.

The story itself is primarily about a pair of brothers, one a little more unbalanced than the other, plotting against a king. It meshes a rather exciting plot with nice characterization; the eight or so characters that get face time are well developed and have distinctive personalities.

The art is also lovelyI mean gorgeousand Nic Klein is super-talented. The splash pages are breathtaking. My complaint is that sometimes in the book the storytelling suffers due to style shifts in the art from panel to panel. Some are more rendered than otherssome are classic pencil plus ink comic art, some panels seem painted, and sometimes the color shifts dramatically from panel to panel as well. Have no doubt: the art remains lovely. It just distracts from the narrative. Not enough to turn me off, but enough that it merits mention. This is a book dripping with vitality, energy, and lends hope that traditional print will never die. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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