I’ve actually had a few opportunities to read the second volume of Siegfried since last year, but I didn’t want to read it. It’s not because I wasn’t interested in the series, it’s actually the opposite. I knew that once I read this second volume I would be stuck waiting for the next volume the same way I was left waiting for this volume. It’s a fantastic series for sure, but with as much detail in the art and the already jammed packed release schedule can you blame me for being impatient for more? Just look at that cover? How can anyone not fall in love with this series from that alone?
It’s been a while since I last read Siegfried, but the opening pages were like opening the flood gates; everything came rushing back to me and reminded me of just how spectacular and beautiful this world is.
We open with Odin literally holding back the dawn. He’s given the command that everyone should resign from the world leaving it without Gods, but there is one of his children still missing… our Valkyrie. As Odin holds back the dawn which is quite possibly the coolest thing anyone has done with the character, he talks to his love… the earth. Here we have a bit of the first volume recapped for us and some more of the story revealed. The basic idea is that Odin, by his own laws can’t save the earth from the dragon that is eating it from within.
The catch twenty-two is that if Siegfried becomes aware of his lineage and the gods then he will not be able to defeat the dragon either. This puts Mimé in a difficult spot as we catch up with him. He’s promised to take Siegfried out of the forest, but he’s lost his trust. Siegfried knows that Mimé is hiding something from him and as such he’s pressing him for that info, unaware that the hint of that knowledge would mean the death of the world.
Even with Mimé’s home in ruin he tries to get Siegfried to delay another day, but when he can’t he reluctantly finishes packing his things for their journey. There’s an incredible scene as Siegfried snaps at Mimé about lying to him and we see Mimé look back at a bucket for just a moment. For just one panel we see a memory of Mimé’s of a smaller and younger Siegfried taking a bath in that very bucket. There is so much sadness on Mimé’s face and it’s clear that even though he’s a bit of an ass, everything he’s done has been to protect Siegfried even if he couldn’t fully explain why.
This scene and panel killed me. You really are left heartbroken for Mimé and even for Siegfried because he doesn’t even know what he’s lost. It’s an incredible visual marker for the story as it indicates that these characters can’t go back, they can only move forward.
From there we check in with the Valkyrie who is still talking to Völva the witch of the forest. She’s there to see the future and to essentially see if and when Siegfried fails so that she can act on her own and defeat the dragon that is eating the planet from within. She agrees to the cost of seeing the future, but Völva informs her that once she witnesses it she can’t do anything to change the future. Of course she agrees, but soon she discovers that what she does in the future goes against every fiber of what she’s currently feeling. This leaves the question then of what does she see that makes her go along with everything Völva shows her?
The story here is incredible and magical. I mean magical is really a bullshit word that people throw around when they don’t know how to describe something, but here I literally meant that it is magical. It’s so fantastic that it’s like watching an animated film that pushed the boundaries of your imagination for the first time. To see things that you only dreamed of come to life and be just as incredible as you believed.
Don’t get me wrong this world is scary and the results of the gods leaving the earth only makes it scarier, but it’s screams out to every fiber of your soul that seeks adventure. Alex Alice has crafted a world that is vivid, full of life and begs you to find adventure alongside of Siegfried.
A huge aspect of this books success is the visuals. As I noted in the beginning the art guides this story every bit as much as the narrative. Alice’s visuals have an animated quality which guides your eye perfectly from frame to frame. It’s so fluid at times that you can picture it moving like a camera shot. The opening with Odin is a prime example of this as it begins close on the back of his hooded head and then pulls out from there revealing him standing on a domed mountain top. Then the angle switches and we pull in closer and closer on his hand until he releases the dawn. It’s incredibly powerful and again guides the story every bit as much as the narrative.
We’re not done there though, since this is a one man show we still have plenty to talk about in terms of the art work and it would be terrible of me not to talk about the coloring of the volume. The coloring could be solid and vibrant like a lot of other titles, this would definitely make it look more animated, but instead Alice opts for a muted color tone. The book is still vibrant, but not because the colors are bright and in your face. Instead they blend and mesh together making it look realistic and picturesque. The coloring is grand, just like the artwork.
Another factor of the visuals is the lettering. Alice uses a variety of lettering and word bubble styles for this volume. Practically every character has their own bubble style which helps to give each character a distinct voice. There are several times in which the lettering is larger and intense whether it’s for Mimé yelling for Siegfried to wait for him or Siegfried yelling at a giant insect for stealing his dinner. There’s personality in the lettering and that does wonders for the visual storytelling.
I’m very excited for the next and what I believe is the final volume of this series, but I am also sad. I don’t want this world to end and I sure as hell don’t want to wait for it to end. This is a beautiful world that is complemented by a creative and wonderful story. Alex Alice doesn’t hold anything back and delivers a story that is a treat for comic readers, opera goers, animation fans and anyone that enjoys a good story.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Alex Alice Publisher: Boom/Archaia Entertainment Price: $24.95 Release Date: 1/29/14