The contributors included some high-profile industry names: Eisner-nominated writer Derek Fridolfs; Marvel/DC/IDW artist Mario Guevara (Dark Horse's Solomon Kane); Mark Wheaton (Dark Horse); and many others. In addition, at the back of the 63-page novel, there were three pin-up pages from artists Matt Smith, Mario Guevara, and Mauro Reifscheider.
What I most enjoyed about this book was the contrasting points of view employed from story to story, which resulted in a fuller picture of the Vikings. For instance, “Satan's Hordes,” scripted by Mark Wheaton and illustrated by Jok, told the story of the Lindisfarne monks who were raided by a Viking party in 8th century which juxtaposed with “Because It Is There” in which writer Fahey and artist Marcelo Basile take the stance that Vikings had a thirst for knowledge and were driven by a spirit of exploration and a need for progress. The story, “No King But the Law,” provided a glimpse into Viking justice, which I thought conveyed one of the most engaging stories of the collection. I also thought writer Susan Wallis and artist Todor Bristow's “Heart of Iron” told a compelling story about a woman passionate about her family, her community, and her Viking heritage.
The black-and-white illustrations were varied in style and approach, which I thought strengthened and showcased each story. Bristow's work on “Heart of Iron” was a study of textures to highlight and hide details of the characters and the wild environment. In particular, I liked Basile's layout for “Because It Is There,” because he incorporated Norse tribal designs in the background that gave a unique visual depth that contrasted well to the detailed, ink-laden images that populated each page. Nuttall's lettering fit nicely and provided a finishing touch to the story.
Basile created the bright, earthy toned cover, incorporating several Norse symbols. In the background, Basile included a circular Norse design, part of a ship's helm, and three Norsemen. The central Viking, in a full regalia of armor and weaponry, is the emblem of Norse power while two additional Vikings stand guard in the distance. The cover caps off a fascinating collection of stories, which I think would be an enjoyable read for individuals with an interest in Norse history.