Elisabeth is the daughter of Dags. The two live in Norway. Ten years ago, their village was raided and slaughtered by a Viking clan called the Forty Swords. Dags went catatonic for ten years while Elisabeth took care of him. Now, he is awake with a daughter that doesn't properly know him. He wants revenge, and Elisabeth won't be left behind.
Sword Daughter #1 is a very atmospheric and pleasantly understated opening issue. It is told from the perspective of Elisabeth, and she explains her world to us. That said, the narration is sparse, allowing the art to explain more of the story to the audience.
Elisabeth can't speak properly though, as she was never taught. Her dialogue bubbles are symbols explaining her sounds to the reader. Her narration is in plain English though, so it's a bizarre yet charming balance.
Another odd detail is Dags' decade-long catatonia. The comic struggles to explain and only gets it across in the final few pages. You do eventually learn what happened, but you must work to piece it together.
At its core, it's a revenge story. This is a good way to start one off. We've met the characters and know their motivation.
Mach Chater's artwork is brilliant, giving the world vibrant detail without over-designing. The resulting style gives the world a cold and empty feeling to it while making the characters lifelike. It looks fantastic and does wonders for the book. Jose Villarrubia compliments the style by using faded and pale shades to color the world. It adds to that feeling of coldness and makes the world seem even more oppressive.
Sword Daughter #1 is a well-constructed, briskly-paced, and gorgeous first issue to this revenge narrative. The stage is set, the characters are introduced, and the tone is well-established. I look forward to where it can go from here. This book earns a recommendation. Give it a read.