Initially, I had misgivings about this book.
Starting off with introductions to these awesome, badass warriors, Borgir the Blood Drinker, Tove the Channeler of Sabercats and Erikk the Iron Tooth, we are dropped into the harsh and cold lands of Varne. People are going missing, assuming to have been taken or killed by either wolves or a giant sabercat.
And old woman is walking through the land, looking for her daughter, Anja, who hasn’t been home for longer than is normal for her. She ventures to the home of one of Anja’s childhood friends to ask his parents if they’ve seen her. We then cut to our title character, Kriss, and Anja talking about the fearsome warriors from before and how Kriss believes Erikk to be his father, with he and his tribe laving Kriss behind to work.
Right from the get go, Kriss has all the trademarks of an edgelord that hates his parents. He sits in a dark room all day, has long black hair, pale skin and has totally br00tal artwork of cool people he likes, likely drawn by himself. He’s very dejected and when we meet him. He has given up all of his chores and apparently starves himself. For all intents and purposes, if Aiden were around during his time period, Kriss would be all into Nightmare Anatomy or another emo group of the ilk.
Difficult to Love the Protaganist
Kriss dreams of Erikk, surrounded by Borgir, Tove and now named fourth man, Radu. Radu suggest that the group and their warriors flee the opposing army and wait until they are cold and starving during the Winter, but Erikk disagrees and vows to fight for his land with his flesh and blood. Kriss is seen with then, chanting Iron Tooth as “Arn Toof,” showing us that, in the past, Kriss was a brave and hardy kid himself and that his possible father was a fearless and valiant warrior in his own right.
When Anja’s mother leaves, upon not finding her, Anja tells Kriss that he is home among the people of Varne. The next morning, a blood pool is found and it is revealed that Anja’s mother did not make it home the previous night. Anja tells Kriss that she can now relate to the feeling of not having a home now that her mother is gone. Kriss gets a look in his eye which signals the turnaround of the book in my eyes.
Kriss takes his adopted father’s pitchfork and ventures out into the woods to hunt for the beast. Throughout the night he is visited by what I believe to be the spirits of his warrior family. Tove warns him that he’s fallen into a trap and is immediately pounced upon and attacked by a giant saber.
Borgir tells him that he must remember that Man is also a beast and to forget is foolish, he must be cunning to defeat a cunning beast. Radu tells him that he must also be smart and rush into battle and die. Erikk himself tells Kriss that he must do what he can to protect his home, specifically Anja, whom Kriss may have something of an affection for.
Kriss is Black Metal as Hell
Using all that was said to him, Kriss plays dead and waits for the Sabercat to attack and springs a trap, stabbing the beast and savagely killing him while the creature pleads for his life, telling the boy he’ll give him a gift. Kriss does not relent and the creature’s pelt is hung on a post the next day… until suddenly, the day after Kriss is visited by the spirit of the cat the pelt disappears and an iron tooth lay in its place.
This book had a bit of rocky start with introducing its lead, but it evolved into an epic battle worthy of being belted out about on an Immortal or Emperor album. The book is cold and Black Metal as hell with simplistic, yet very effective art. Kriss pops out in every scene he’s in, character designs are unique and very convincing when selling the Iron Tooth band as vicious warriors and the coloring is amazing, making things seem very bleak with cool tones or hopeful the few times there are warm or neutral colors used. This is definitely a tale worth keeping your eye on.
Slated for a September 17th, 2019 release into Comic Book Stores – you can grab your digital copy NOW through Comixology or Google Play.
How did we rate Kriss #1? 4 Sodas
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The Artist formerly known as Tyson Yurai fancies himself a fan of capes, dumb 90s trash and great horrors/thrillers!