Siegfried II: The Valkyrie (Archaia)

Siegfried 2 HeaderIn the second installment of his Siegfried series, Alex Alice weaves a tale that has all the appeal of Richard Wagner’s classic opera with the complexities and edginess of a modern fantasy epic.

 

72 pages, Full Color, $24.95 (Hardcover)

W/A: Alex Alice

 

Click here for the review of Volume 1

When it comes to trilogies, I find that each part has a different purpose in appealing to its readers. The first part is the hook. The hook tempts you, draws you in with whispered promises of things to come. The second part is the follow through. The hook convinced you to take a chance, but now the book has to convince you that your faith wasn’t misplaced, that it can give you the experience it promised before. Then, of course, there is the finale of the series. This is the part that is the most vital, because the ending is what will form the strongest impression in your memory. In the follow through phase of Alex Alice’s Siegfried trilogy, The Valkyrie, Alice gives everything he’s promised and more.

In his continued struggle to do justice to Richard Wagner’s classic opera, The Ring of the Nibelung, Alice’s characters begin to Siegfried 2 Coverreveal more about their personal struggles and limitations. Over the course of Siegfried II: The Valkyrie, a greater pattern begins to emerge that spans beyond Siegfried’s journey towards his conflict with the dragon Fafnir. What was simply a road becomes a countryside that encompasses Siegfried, the dragon, and the so-called omnipotent beings that allowed such a monster to exist.

While Siegfried and his struggles are still very much the center of The Valkyrie, in this volume you get to see more of Odin and the pivotal part he plays in this drama. Odin, a being whose power surpasses all others, is rendered impotent as he is bound by the very laws he set into existence, and forced to watch as a mortal boy marches off to fight the result of a god’s folly.

In this world that Wagner founded and Alice has built upon, it is revealed that Odin, much like Siegfried, is trapped in a prison without walls or a ceiling. Each character in this story struggles against their bonds in their own way, some with fear, some with anger, and some with solemn determination. Where each of their paths will end has yet to be revealed, but it’s been one hell of a ride so far.

Complimenting the second arc of the trilogy is Alice’s superb artwork, which has not diminished in quality in the least since the first volume. The landscapes and designs can be best described as an inspiring visual fusion of The Dark Crystal, The Never Ending Story, and Jeff Smith’s Bone. Edgy and sharply defined in one panel, bizarre and oddly formed in the next, and yet all part of one seamlessly formed realm.

Two volumes in and I’m already mourning the coming of the third to herald the end of this series. This series has all the appeal of the classic opera with the complexities and edginess of a modern fantasy epic. As Siegfried continues to edge forward towards his final confrontation with his destiny, Alice has ensured that people within his fictional world and without watch with baited breath. | Brent Mueller

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