The year is 1014 AD, come the battle of Clontarf, at which Brian Boru, High-King of Ireland, fought against the Norse king Sigtrygg of Dublin. Wrapped around these true historical events, the second volume of Northlanders is a standalone story arc that continues to explore the bloody tales of fierce Norse settlers and their inevitable clash with equally fierce natives, or yet other invaders, as in the previous volume.
Three bodies lay slain in the grass, somewhere in a green farm near Dublin. Who is avidly killing the Norse King’s men? Enter the turbulent and agonized Magnus - once a proud land owner and a loyal son of Ireland; now supplanted and persecuted fugitive. His sole purpose in life is to kill the Norse occupiers, one by one, if needs be.
The only person he cares about on this earth is his young daughter Brigid; as a contrast to his savage killings, we get tender moments with Brigid. His nemesis is Ragnar Ragnarsson - a skillful Norse scout sent by king Sigtrygg, to investigate the violent deaths inflicted by Magnus.
Ragnar gradually becomes obsessed with the capturing of Magnus, and he and his men will go unto any extent in order to achieve their goal. All along, hunted Magnus becomes increasingly desperate, his attacks more frantic and reckless - Has he already begun drifting away from reality, or is the mission still sound?
This graphic novel assumes the mixed genre of realistic-medieval-Viking-fighting drama with a crime-investigation flavor. Surprisingly enough, the story uses modern language and modern methods when describing Ragnar’s investigation – such as building a “Profile” for the suspect, as Ranger had learnt in “College”. I am not sure whether it was as appropriate for the story, but I am keeping an open mind here.
One also cannot ignore the obvious similarities between the first volume of northlanders and this second one. Both protagonists in both volumes were supplanted from their lands and status. Both are extraordinary warriors who can take just about anything or anyone, and both choose to live on the fringes of society and embark on a killing rampage against their usurpers. Both volumes have slightly annoying and sloppy plot inaccuracies. For example in this volume, three bodies are depicted in the opening scene of the book, while the characters speak only of two.