31 July 2016

Black Road by Brian Wood and Gary Brown

My time available for reading comics is still very limited, though the new job is helping with the shorter commute making more free time in the day some of which spills though into more time for reading, and that means taking care over what I buy. The days when I bough almost everything that Marvel published and a lot from DC too have long gone.

I am also looking for different things to read. There are still some good superhero comics out there but the overall standard has fallen with the proliferation of titles (there are three or four different Avengers books every month) and the interest in the characters has gone with the innumerable relaunches and resurrections. I have no idea who DR Henry Pym is these days and I do not care anymore.

On the plus side, the rest of the comics market is very vibrant, particularly Image Comics, and it is easy to find and buy new things on the internet. My current reading list includes Trees, Injection, Sage, Autumn Lands, Midnight of the Soul and Fuse. To that list I have just aded Black Road.

The Black Road leads to the north of Norway and this is a medieval world with a powerful church, waring lords and wolves. Travelling the hazardous road are a warrior and a young woman who grew up as a slave in Rome.

The blurb sounded interesting and I had liked Brian Wood's work on one of the (many) X-Men books and that was enough for me to take a punt on issue #1. Having read that I immediately bought the other published issues (#2 to #4) and then subscribed to the series to get all future issues (#5 is due on 17 August).

There is a lot to like the book. It has lots of familiar themes, the journey, the companionship, the church, the primitive setting, the mysterious ast, etc. and they are brought together skilfully to make something new and interesting, much as Game of Thrones does.

The main narrative is the journey, hence the title of the book, and that drives the story in a clear direction, unlike Game of Thrones!, and makes it a compelling read.

I do not often fall in love with books as quickly as I did this one and not only have I got a new title to read every month I've also been encourage to try some other new titles.

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