Thorgal Vol 23: Thor’s Shield

By Rosinski & Sente
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781849184458

The focus of the Thorgal books is now squarely on Jolan, with Thorgal very much a supporting character. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the building blocks that make this such a remarkable series are all still in place. It remains a great blend of mythology, fantasy and history, all neatly tied together with Rosinski’s distinctive artwork. Perhaps if he were removed from the equation it would lose that essential element – but thankfully, to date, that’s not been the case.

Jolan has successfully fulfilled the task set by Manthor and has assisted his fellow challengers to boot. Now Manthor has set a new challenge, to retrieve Thor’s shield from Asgard. On the surface it looks like a difficult task, made worse by a tight timescale and the fact that of the five challengers only one can be crowned as the Chosen One. The other challengers all have abilities as strange as they are different to Jolan’s, and all seem as intent to collect the shield for themselves. But brute force and a show of strength are not what’s needed to claim the shield within the allotted time, and it’s Jolan that pieces this together. The question is, can he put this knowledge to his advantage.

We learn a little more about Manthor’s backstory too, and how Jolan’s family is being drawn into the mystery back on Earth. Thorgal, it seems, isn’t completely out of the picture.

Sente’s writing complements Van Hamme’s nicely. The emphasis and focus are different, but it still very much feels like we’re operating within a Thorgal book. The five challengers do feel like they’ve been lifted directly from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, but at least Sente has avoided misogynistic stereotyping. Manthor’s Army is also an interesting touch. Dead warriors reincarnated in the bodies of rag doll soldiers. I’m not sure where he’s going with this, but coupled with Rosinski’s visual depictions they’re certainly an interesting addition.

The Thorgal books remain one of my favourites. I’ve you’ve not tried them before I’d suggest you start from the beginning rather than here, as this book does lean on characters and situations that we’ve come across before. It doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t enjoy it, but you may find it’s a richer experience to do so.

And if you liked that: You’ll probably love Lament Of The Lost Moors, also from Cinebook

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