Eternal: a shieldmaiden ghost story follows Vif and her shieldmaidens as they protect their village from men who wish to seize their land. The men are commanded by the mystical scumbag, Bjarte. It becomes apparent over the course of the tale that just because birds pick at the corpses of your enemies, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. The comic is a self-contained story with larger page size than the standard monthly.
The story reminds me a little of the Beowulf movie/tale where a village is under siege and attack is launched upon the home of the attacker. Much like Beowulf, the cost of protecting their village is much higher than they could have anticipated. Vif is an impressive leader of the shieldmaidens who will protect her village at all costs.
After the opening pages introduce Vif to the reader, the story dives straight to the attack Vif and her shieldmaidens launch in retribution for the attack on the village. Vif is a leader who leads from the front and is fearless is her defence of the village, never once questioning the cost of her service to the village.
Due to the over-sized pages of the comic, the reader can really absorb the artwork. The art just seems so much bigger on some of the pages. There’s some really creative panel borders on the introductory pages before the action kicks off. They really compliment the story of the comic. I also really enjoyed the fight choreography too and almost felt like I was in the middle of the melee at times.
Much like the line art, the colour art is superb and all the better for the larger pages. Be it frozen vistas or the heat of battle, the colours bring a vitality to the pages. There are also some pages with only red as the colour on them. Initially, the reader might wonder the relevance. Stick with the story and you’ll find out. It also is something that improves on re-reads. The comic also has some bonus back matter that for those who have an interest on the various aspects that go into making a comic.
I really enjoyed this shieldmaiden ghost story and would recommend to anyone that enjoys stories like Beowulf, Northlanders or the 13th Warror.
Comic-loving bookworm. Scribbler of words and images.
Not Irish international soccer player.
Can be found on Twitter @Stephen_C_Ward.