Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Norse Mythology Volume 2 [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Neil Gaiman, P Craig Russell, with Matt Horak, Mark Buckingham, Gabriel Hernández Walta, Sandy Tarrell, Lovern Kindzierski, Galen Showman, & al., part of the Norse Mythology series.

Gaiman Russell Norse Mythology Vol 2

The second volume of P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s telling of Norse myths is very good, despite a lack of interior art from Russell, who does not illustrate any of the stories other than the covers. His hand is still quite visible in the layouts. The artists in this volume were less familiar to me than the ones in the first book, but they were quite capable, and their work seems to harmonize better with each other. As before, an appendix contains some character designs and unfinished artwork to highlight the creative process, along with a gallery of the individual covers and alternate covers from the floppy periodical comics.

This middle book of the series has not so much to do with cosmogony or eschatology. It’s about gods in their prime, godding about and tangling with giants in various ways. The human society that first told these myths isn’t much in evidence at all. A young Neil Gaiman makes a cameo as a “bad poet” in the slight modern scene that frames “The Mead of Poets.” My favorite panel in the whole book was in “Thor’s Journey to the Land of Giants,” where a glowering Thor insists after being taunted, “I will pick up your cat.” I was delighted to see later that David Mack’s alternate cover for that issue showed Thor lifting the paw of the giant feline. “The Apples of Immortality” had a startling comeuppance for Loki, and “The Story of Gerd and Frey” was the one that felt the most lofty and ethereal.

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