Review - Jorund Honor Bound

"So I'll put it in simple terms...he refers to me not as his "son" but only by name, Jorund."

In every distant civilization, there's a different way of doing things. Different way of ruling, different way of settling fights and even different way of raising children. The combination of all three is what makes that civilization interesting and when one facet of it is in conflict with another, then sparks will surely fly. One such a disagreement of values takes place in Jorund Honor Bound. The issue is written by James Mulholland, illustrated by Julio Falkenhagen, colored by Amanda Jasmin and lettered by Micah Myers.

Jorund is the son of a warrior. A warrior named Thorvard who's unrelenting in his expectations for Jorund. Jorund's mother is equally as harsh and when Thorvard is killed by rival clansmen Kar, the onus is upon Jorund to avenge his death. Jorund wants nothing to do with revenge and instead must fight to convince his mother that there is another way.

Jorund Honor Bound is a very ambitious take on classic tales in the vein of 300. Mulholland's characterization of Jorund is someone who's uncomfortable with the expectations of warrior thrust upon him, even if he's the firstborn in a village full of warriors. That in and of itself does provide some interesting tension with his mother over the death of his father, but otherwise it feels a little hollow. Mulholland doesn't really explore very much of Jorund's history (save for one hunting trip) in an effort to explain his outlook on life. It's fine if you don't want to follow in your father's footsteps, but there's really no credible reason or alternative presented by Jorund. His mother is savagely emphatic almost for the sake of being an antagonist and the reader gets to the redirect at the end before Jorund does.

Falkenhagen relies on a warrior viking look for Jorund Honor Bound that pretty effectively conveys the action. Drawing on such a warrior culture automatically instills the reader with the necessary mindset to better understand what's happening in Jorund's world. The characters are very angular in appearance, cutting into the settings with almost harshness. There are a few instances where body positioning relative to others in the panel feels a little off, but by and large Falkenhagen handles the art duties well. The fight scenes feel particularly energetic and really tap into the brutality of Jorund's tribe. Jasmin keeps the colors in a simple, primary palette, ranging from a blue stream cutting through a green field of grass to the brown hut that Jorund lives in with his mother and brother.

Jorund Honor Bound is a visit to a time and place far away, but one that bears traits that make it easily recognizable and something to relate to. You'd be hard-pressed to find any child who hasn't had a quarrel with their parents at one point or another, but chances are the stakes weren't nearly as high as they are for Jorund. Mulholland's story is heavy on narration as a means of filling in the gaps in Jorund's story and it's possible that Jorund Honor Bound would've worked better as a miniseries with more time to explore his world. Falkenhagen's artwork is simple yet clean, showcasing a fantasy world that is a far cry from the present one. Jorund Honor Bound will appeal to fans of warrior tribe tales and stories of betrayal, featuring a twist at the end that is quite cerebral in many ways.

Jorund Honor Bound is available now via