Garth Ennis injects his stories with often ridiculous over-the-top scenes of blood-letting. It should come as no surprise that this Mixtape is basically Rated R. He is best known for sculpting Vertigo’s Preacher, working on Marvel’s Punisher for nine-years, and the ongoing series The Boys from Dynamite Entertainment. While Garth Ennis is best at long-form story telling, his shorter works are explosive experiments in ultra-violence. As a result of the extreme lengths he will take his characters, Garth Ennis rarely gets to use big characters from either Marvel or DC. Thor: Vikings is an exception to that. In this 2003 series, Garth Ennis got to do an explicit Thor story, which is surprisingly rare. Considering the fact that Thor is based on a god from a very brutal time in history, the character is very often relegated to standard super-heroics (especially as a card-carrying member of the Avengers). I will be mixtaping issue one of the five issue miniseries which sees Thor treated like a ragdoll as he gets thrown around like a child’s toy by zombie Vikings. It rules.
The issue starts in 1003 AD in Norway with Viking Lord Harald Jaekelsson and his horde raiding, pillaging, raping and burning the town of Lakstad. The action is fit for Game of Thrones and it’s really brutal, which is what Ennis specializes in. Parental advisory is recommended, as we watch the vikings run rampant over the villagers there is a sense that the villains will one day get what they deserve, but that day isn’t here yet and they proclaim their intention to sail to the New World. As they set sail the village wise man, not as dead as he should have been, curses them with a rune stone to sail for a thousand years and never reach their destination. We need a real bad-ass theme song for the opening of the book, and I think you might know what that is, as I foreshadowed it by mentioning the TV show earlier. While reading the beginning of Thor: Vikings, listen to the theme from the Game of Thrones TV show, and if you really want to go nuts, listen to the heavy metal version.
What follows is essentially a detailed account of how Harald Jaekelsson and his Vikings were lost at sea for a while, strike that, they were lost for a thousand years. Even though it was peculiar that they didn’t need fresh water, or food, Jaekelsson’s mind never wavered, he knew where they were going, and he was determined to get there. This hell-bent drive to reach the New World, combined with the amped up power of the rune stone magic, is what caused the Vikings to be lost at sea, but never-dying. Eventually all rational thought was lost and in their minds burned three thoughts: that they knew who they were, where they were going and what they were going to do when they arrived. These three thoughts drove them so that they eventually arrive in modern day in a concrete jungle where dreams are made of, now they’re in New York (Empire State of Mind, by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys). This feel good hit of the summer is twisted by the fact that it now heralds the arrival of unkillable viking zombies, who definitely didn’t come to New York for the shopping.
Jaded New Yorkers of 2003 A.D. of course don’t believe that Vikings from 1000 years ago have come to Manhattan, they instead believe that it’s the filming of a movie or a historical re-enactment. That is, of course, until some happy go lucky New Yorker welcomes them to the South Street Seaport with open arms, and gets a sword through the face (see below).
A foolish American comments, while seeing people hewn and torn asunder, that “This is Spy T.V. or something.” Yes silly American, big budget hidden camera, with decapitations galore. A female cop sacrifices herself so that a father and son can run away; Harald Jaekelsson ponders what kind of society sends its women to fight. Skyscrapers are silver mountain towers, cop cars are iron carts and Harald is astounded because of all of the wonders that his eye can see, he knows it will all belong to him. The Vikings do not stop, driven by some unholy force, as though Satan is their Motor. Coincidentally, listen to Satan is my Motor by Cake whilst vikings rain down destruction.
But where is Thor in all this madness? It’s New York and surely there’s an Avenger nearby to halt this mad massacre? Lo and behold, descending from the heavens is the god of thunder, Mjolnir in tow. Thor is no stranger to violence and Harald Jaekelsson even recognizes him as a god. However, he does not seem afraid at all. It’s good that Thor thinks he is Savin’ the Day (by the Alessi Brothers), but to find out if that’s really the case you will have to get the Thor: Vikings trade paperback or track down the back issues. I will let you know that Thor bites off way more that he can chew and that it’s strangely satisfying seeing the smug blonde deity get his ass handed to him for once.
The Quick and Dirty
First Section: Ramin Djawadi – Game of Thrones Main Title or Game of Thrones Heavy Metal Theme
Second Section: Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys) – Empire State of Mind
Third Section: Cake – Satan is my Motor
Fourth Section: Alessi Bros – Savin’ the Day