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Review: The Darkness: Lodbrok’s Hand

Posted by Luke Brown On December - 10 - 2008

Writer Phil Hester teams with artist Michael Avon Oeming on a one-shot centering on a more primitive time in the Darkness’ lineage. Hit the jump to see if this creative team-up delivered the goods.

The Darkness: Lodbrok’s Hand
Writer: Phil Hester
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover: Oeming, Massimo Carnevale

One of the great things about the Darkness and the Witchblade is the wide-openess writers have when telling stories about weilders past. With this issue, Phil Hester and Mike Oeming introduce readers to Lodbrok, a Viking who bargained with the Darkness.

The story begins with several of Lodbrok’s current crew wondering how exactly their leader came to lose his hand. An elder on the ship recounts the events of Lodbrok’s life leading up to that moment. Phil Hester can pretty much do no wrong with the Darkness mythology. Just about everything the man writes adds more to the legacy, and it’s nice to see Top Cow letting a guy pretty much run wild with the concept. Here, his tale of deals with the Devil, betrayal, and loss, is grand in scope, but works well in this single-issue format. A great strength of this universe is the ability to tell stories that won’t be bogged down in continuity, and this is a perfect example of how to write a story that anyone can enjoy.

I’ve always enjoyed Michael Avon Oeming’s art. His work on Powers is pretty damn solid, and I look forward to seeing his style on different books. Here, his crisp, simple lines are colored by Val Staples, making his stark blacks stand out even more. The noir feel Oeming usually implements works well here as well, even though the story takes place hundreds of years ago. It just goes to show that if you know how to layout a book properly, and you have a strong style, you can really make a visual impact on readers.

The story is strong, and the art is perfectly suited for this book. This was a nice one-off story, and if Top Cow puts out any more, I’ll probably check them out too.


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