Graphic Novel Review: Birdking Volume 1 by Daniel Freedman and CROM

Birdking Volume 1 by Daniel Freedman and CROM. Dark Horse, 2022. 9781506726076. Includes a short making of section in the back that includes sketches, preliminary drawings, and more.

This is the first act of what promises to be an epic, coming-of-age fantasy series. At its center is Bianca, assistant to Thonir, a gifted smith, once called the Hammer of the North. She’s helping him make swords and shields for their master Aghul, who united the North under a single banner with the help of six wraiths and their magical weapons.

Bianca loves her hammer, and, in particular, loves to use it to smash statues at a nearby haunted castle. It’s there that one day a bird (a little red bird with a skull on its chest) leads her to the tomb of the King of Feather Hill. And it’s about that same day when Aghul sends her master a broken magical blade to repair, a sword that can bring a wraith to life. Fixing it is the beginning of Bianca learning how special she is. It’s also the beginning of the end of the relationship between her master and Alghul. As they flee his forces, the sword awakens a wraith that’s on Bianca’s side (which is good because of the foul creatures Alghul sends after them).

The story and art are as playful as they are powerful, and remind me of both Andrew Maclean’s Head Lopper and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. Get this one for your library.


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