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Northlanders Vol. 3: Blood in the Snow [Paperback]

Brian Wood , Vasilis Lolos , Danijel Zezelj


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Book Description

March 30 2010 Northlanders (Book 3)
This volume collects all of the NORTHLANDERS short stories (issues 9, 10, 17, 18, 19 and 20). Exploring everything from the art of Viking single combat, to the role of women in the Viking world, this volume also includes the return of the original Northlanders artist Davide Gianfelice to illustrate a coda to Volume 1.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (March 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401226205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401226206
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 16.5 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #171,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic April 1 2010
By Dylan Michael Fowles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love how these comics are more than just stories set against a Viking back-drop, but actually bring a lot of the culture into its pages. Blood in the Snow is no different.

This is a bit different from the other 2 in that it's a collection of several short stores rather than one single story arc, but it has all the over the top violence, excellent artwork, and great dialogue that I've come to expect.

Also, Sven makes an AWESOME and thoughtful reappearance, though I wish it had been longer to flesh out his exile a bit more.

Pick it up.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great installment to the Northlanders comic saga April 19 2010
By ratstar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wood's Northlanders series tells a series of seperate stories, with longer arcs split up by shorter arcs and one shots.
This book collects four seperate stories, each following different characters and different themes.

'Lindisfarne', a two parter, explores a young boy's hatred for his Christian father, and infatuation with the Pagan invaders that arrive to decimate his homeland. It's a surprising story that feels realistic and even somewhat emotive, as you see the character come of age in a short story.

'The Viking Art of Single Combat', a standalone issue, explores in visceral detail the concept of a one-on-one duel, with two warriors from opposing camps entering the ring to fight to the death. A fascinating look at its subject matter, but lighter on characterisation.

'The Shield Maidens', another two-part arc, is perhaps the standout story of the book. This time, we see a feminine perspective, as for the first time not one but three women are the core lead characters. The story looks at how the women struggle to survive against impossible odds, and how they find strength without their husbands. A wonderful and very satisfying story with an underlining connection to Viking lore.

'Sven the Immortal', a standalone issue, provides a much-demanded follow up story to the original 'Sven the Returned' arc, following up on Sven's life now that he has become an old man, a 'husband' and a father to a son and daughter. It's a fitting follow up to the original story, providing some closure to the characters but in the end I have to admit it did still leave me wanting a little more, of Sven or perhaps even his children.

Each story has a different artist, and each one brings their own style to the stories with flair. Once again, the colours really bring vibrance to some rather grim tales.

The combination of different stories mean there should be something for everyone if they're interested, and it perhaps makes up for the slightly disappointing second volume.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars swallowed by savagery Nov. 26 2012
By gonzobrarian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Here is where the series hits its stride. Apart from the ubiquitous (though artfully jarring) head lopping and disembowelments of the past volumes, this third tome of Brian Wood`s Northlanders tales is an aurora of hardship, themed with the heavy cost of survival among those fighting for their place in the northern desolation of long ago.

In this ongoing meditation of Norse ethos in its rapidly evolving culture, Wood deliberates upon the idea of survival. Whether choosing life based upon the reliance and strength of the old gods or two champions' quick-witted and closed-in strategy in a duel, or the tenuous safety of a broken fortress against an outnumbering onslaught, to the sacrifice of family for reputation, Wood focuses not as much on Norse savagery but on the fortitude to avoid being swallowed by it. There are very few heroes in these stories, leaving the reader to come away with a sense that in this day and age, familial survival was glory enough.

All four stories in this volume are brilliantly complemented with cohesively flawless art from numerous contributors. The writing is sparse, set against the stoic, ever-present eeriness of the northern lights, glowing upon and enhancing the madness emanating beneath the iron of the warriors' blades and armor. Two stories are prominent in terms of their gripping starkness, the first being The Viking Art of Single Combat. Never have I read a more absorbing fusion of text and sketching, terse with violent paneling though coupled with a softened, detached narration about two Berserkers vying for their respective lords' perennial, bloody and ultimately trivial skirmishes.

The Shield Maidens is the second standout. In an attempt to renounce the proverb "fate is relentless", three Danish women combine wits in an abandoned castle to resist a pillaging Saxon horde, with only the tide providing temporary refuge. It's an excellent story underscoring the subtle strength of the female experience in Norse society. Daniel Zezelj's artwork is especially gorgeous, his rigid lines permeated by swaths of blunt color, a blending of sky and sea in the season where the sun never completely sets.

This third volume of Northlanders is a disturbingly brilliant compilation of the old Norse experience. Its strength rests in deft storytelling of the other members of this society apart from the storied warriors. Chillingly (in every sense) it highlights the difficulty of life in this age, how victory was attained not always in battle, but also in its clever sidestepping. An excellent installment in this harrowing series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glory songs Sept. 17 2011
By Sam Quixote - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Northlanders" is a series of Viking stories set in the latter half of the first millennia AD. The series is different from other Vertigo series as it doesn't feature a single "quest" like storyline and a central cast of characters. Rather, writer Brian Wood chooses to write either book length stories per character/storyline or, like in "Blood in the Snow", a series of short stories. Because of this it makes the series more accessible as if you pick up this book (third in the series) or the fourth you won't have missed a huge chunk of story to render the book difficult to follow, but if you have been reading them all you'll get more out of it as Wood does bring back some characters.

The stories contained here are among the best of the series so far. "Lindisfarne" features some gorgeous artwork by Dean Ormston of the monk town of Lindisfarne before it is raided by Vikings and the townspeople murdered. It both captures the romance of the time and the bloodiness of the culture of the Vikings.

"The Shield Maidens" is worth this book alone. A two part story of three surviving wives of a recently razed village of Northmen by the Saxons, they escape and hole up in an abandoned Roman fortress, only to find the Saxons in pursuit, eventually laying siege to them. The story follows how that siege goes, and is brilliantly written by Wood who keeps the tension up and the action flowing nicely.

"Sven the Immortal" is another chapter in the life of Sven, the main character of the first Northlanders book. Here he must defend himself and his family from a group of young Northlanders out to prove themselves by slaying the legendary Sven the Returned. This too was an excellent story and a welcome reunion between Wood and artist Davide Gianfelice who produces beautiful scenes for this closing chapter of the book.

"Blood in the Snow" is an excellent read for all fans of comic books and needn't be read as the third book in the series but instead works fine as a standalone work. "Northlanders" continues to be a fascinating series and one of Vertigo's best, I highly recommend checking it out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vikings Like You've Never Seen Them Before Jan. 16 2011
By Alex C. Telander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the third volume of the fascinating Northlanders series, Brian Wood takes readers on new adventures into the world and history of the Vikings. What makes Northlanders such an interesting and original series are Wood's storylines, beginning in the first volume with Sven, but then taking readers on different tangents and facets of the Vikings. The series is like a full history course on the Vikings, all told through the medium of the graphic novel.

In Blood in the Snow, Wood begins with the monastery at Lindisfarne, one of the richest and favorite areas to attack and pillage, exploring the way of life for some Vikings, consistently attacking and ransacking for more riches. In the second story, "The Viking Art of Single Combat," Wood tells the tale of a battle between two champions, between two families who have been at war with each other for generations. After this battle, they will be at peace for a little while. As these two war veterans face off, the reader sees their world and their lives through their eyes, understanding what they hold dear, and why their revenge is so strong.

In the third tale, "The Shield Maidens" - which deserves some awards - Wood tells the story of three Viking wives who are trapped and under attack from a hoard of Saxons, and how they work together, use their strengths, and miraculously escape, separated, with their lives, and their reunite years later. In the final tale, "Sven the Immortal," the reader sees a Sven now old but still strong, who must fight for his family and his life one more time.

The Northlanders series just gets better with each volume, keeping readers hooked with interest and wonder at what story Brian Wood is going to tell next, what journey he will take the Vikings on, and what battles will be waged. Well researched, this series is one of the best there is being written today in the world of graphic novels.

Originally written on May 18 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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