I picked up this book on the strength of the names Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. I haven’t read any others in this series, which Brian Wood is doing with a wide variety of illustrators, but you can bet I’ll be looking for more.
In The Sea Road, illustrated by Fiona Staples, Dag is coming to end of his life and dreams of something more than mere mortal riches. He wants to be the first Noreman to cross the western sea. Unfortunately, his crew does not share his dreams of glory. Still, he fights his men, the sea and his own demons to step on the shores of Iceland.
The five part story Metal, thrillingly drawn by Riccardo Burchielli is the saga of Erik, a former blacksmith bent on revenge against the Christians that are encroaching on his homeland and trying to eradicate the worship of the pagan gods. He rescues an albino woman (who are considered scared in Norse lore) named Ingrid and together they burn, slash and kill their way across Norway until they come up against Black Karl, one of the draugur. This story is an actioner, love story, revenge tale, mythology and ghost story all rolled into one. Stunning artwork, too.
The last story, The Girl in the Ice has such a melancholy tone. The drawings by Becky Cloonan are hauntingly beautiful, reminiscent of her work on By Chance or Providence, which I adored. In this work, an old man finds a girl trapped in the ice and takes it upon himself to try and discover how she came to meet this fate. It will be his undoing.