Cover art can be so important and sometimes it can be misleading. I'm of the opionion that cover art should reflect the style of art within the comic / graphic novel itself, in some way. I've picked up a comic on the cover alone only to put it straight back down again on seeing the inside pages.
Not this time.
A world-wise warrior returns to his homeland, but for what reason? Is it revenge? Or to claim his birthright? Does he care about these things at all? One thing is for sure, his return bodes for change for his old life, and ushers in a new.
While the tale follows some regular themes, it's well told and grounded. It portrays a harsh life for those of the north, to which Sven returns. His enemy, his uncle who has taken rulership of the clan as his own and abused this power, is a regular bad guy ruling by fear and intimidation.
Sven is no white knight however, with a sketchy past and an uncertain future and certainly morally challenged. However, there is a noble streak in him and this comes to the fore during the tale.
The story is well written and the art is very nice (in a gritty sort of way), helping set the atmosphere of the grim north in the hardy linework and the subdued colour.
It's a swords without the sorcery take on the viking way of life which is so common at the moment, but it is handled with style. The Bernard Cornwell of comics if you will. So if that's your bag then you'll probably rate it five stars over my four.
I do look forward to the second volume, though I'm guessing that it's a standalone story with different characters, as this first book rounds off rather well. Here's hoping it's the same creative team aswell.