Konungar: War of Crowns #1 Review – Vikings vs. Centaurs

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The Kingdom of Alstavik has been ripped asunder. King Rildrig has ascended to the throne, while his older brother, Sigvald, was left in the cold. Sigvald knows his older brother is reckless and ruthless, so he leads a rebellion to take the throne back from his brother. Their sister, Elfi, tries everything possible to end this civil war, especially as a border nation uses the opportunity to run raids against Alstavik. Worse yet, the Centaurs have returned, and they are amassing an army to destroy the Vikings of Alstavik.

Konungar: War of Crowns #1 cover by Alex Ronald
Konungar: War of Crowns #1 cover by Alex Ronald

Konungar: War of Crowns #1 has some notable similarities to Game of Thrones. Replace Alstavik with Westeros and Centaurs with Whitewalkers, and you have a somewhat similar plot, even if Konungar has a familial element in the heart of its grand civil war which Game of Thrones lacks.

I mostly list all that as a way of saying that I noticed the similarities, as Konungar is damn good and doesn't constantly make you think of the George R. R. Martin series in the way you might expect. Konungar is good on its own terms.

The plot, characters, and political intrigue are all compelling. The dialogue is good and generally intelligent. The pacing can drag a bit in spots, leaving the narrative to feel a little aimless at times.

The relationship and rivalry between the two brothers is well established and engaging. It does dip a little too much into the "good guy/bad guy" dynamic for its own good. Rildrig is clearly mad and an unfit ruler while Sigvald is the more noble and well centered.

Konungar: War of Crowns #1 art by Juzhen
Konungar: War of Crowns #1 art by Juzhen

Juzhen is the artist on the comic, and the artwork is brilliant. The world is highly detailed, fleshed out, and given its own sense of style. There is a hint of anime/manga influence in the mixture of primarily western comic sensibilities, and it's a nice touch. The colors are graded well and blend to make interesting shades and tones for each scene. The comic looks fantastic.

Konungar: War of Crowns #1 is a hell of a read for the fan of Vikings and fantasy. The world is well realized and interesting, the characters are compelling, and the art is marvelous. It's a comic that carries itself with a confidence and style that few other fantasy graphic novels can match. This one comes highly recommended. Give it a read.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.