In attempt to abate some of the sweeping the void caused by Vikings’ mid-season break, Titan Comics are attempting to staunch fans’ Nordic hunger in a comic book yields ultimately mixed results. This five part miniseries overlooks the second and third seasons of History Channel’s semi-historical drama, and whilst the resemblance is there – it transpires more as a series starting-point, than an enthralling first comic.
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Staz Johnson
Publisher: Titan Comics
Available: Out Now
A review copy was provided by the publisher
Godhead’s first issue encompasses the TV show’s central Ragnar, overlooking his return to England and relationship with King Ecbert of Wessex. More central to this first issue, however, is Floki. Told from the boat-builder’s perspective, his internal conflict regarding Ragnar and Ecbert are alluded to; offering seeds of political doubt that will presumably become more integral over the next four issues. Cavan Scott pens character exchanges in a way that is straightforward and brash; a style fans of the show are likely to recognise, affording a tone that remains very much rooted within the historical era portrayed in the television series, despite feeling unoriginal at times.
Staz Johnson and Richard Elson opt for a softer, sketchier art style than the previously dynamic designs seen in Spider-Man and Catwoman. The fretful concerns of Siggy and Aslaug are portrayed empathically, with fantastically washed-out colouring that exudes the sense of distrust pervading this issue’s main plot. Most striking perhaps is the intellectual Floki. The character’s paint-daubed eyes and furrowed brow are strikingly realised and instantly recognisable, proffering a heightened attention to facial expression that hints at the deeper conflict within the boat-builder regarding his pillaging brothers; something that offers a grounded narrative core to be developed in subsequent issues.
Outside of Floki’s ruminant disposition, however, the writing more often takes the lead during the issue’s more political frames as artwork remains distinctly static beneath it; something that begs the question of whether the series might have been better translated in a novel, than a comic book.
Visuals feel additionally lacking during the issue’s action scenes. The comic’s strong opening introduction feels promisingly epic, but after that, encounters feel numbed by the comic’s dulled shading, and could have impacted more with further injury detail and a more dynamic palette.
Whilst Vikings compatriots of the show may be intrigued by this graphical adaptation, the first issue of Titan’s Vikings: Godhead may yield a more dubious reaction from newcomers. The scratchy art style is well-suited to the series’ depicted era, composing an attention to character expression that helps complexify Scott’s penned scripting. The lack of detail during tense action moments, however, strikes as uninventive, and static during the issue’s political sections. Bolstered with a promising narrative base driven by the ruminant Floki and Aslaug, it may be worth returning to Titan’s graphical adaptation of History Channel’s acclaimed drama in the run up to Season 4’s second act. But that is a judgement that ultimately rests upon further entries.