Asgardians: Odin

First Second. (Asgardians: Bk. 1). Mar. 2024. 96p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781250760760; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781250760777.
Gr 5 Up–A warrior is plucked from a battlefield by valkyries and brought to the mead hall of Valhalla where he is told a story that encompasses the creation of some of the nine realms, the births of Odin and many of the Norse gods, and Odin’s subsequent quests for knowledge and divine wisdom. Illustrated in pen and ink with digital colors, this introduction to the particular intricacies of Norse mythology has its work cut out for it. Certainly, the names, celestial mechanics, and character motivations may all seem a bit arcane to readers more familiar with either the author’s former work elucidating Greek gods or the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s take on Asgardian tales. For anyone familiar with Odin’s reputation as a gallows god, his focus on learning and knowledge may come as a surprise, and for someone coming from other myths, the grungy, fleshy aspects of creation may seem a far cry from the gleaming celestial majesty sometimes associated with other cultures’ pantheons. Hopefully, these contrasts will be appealing, as a lot of work has been done here to depict some of the wondrous strangeness of the source legends and to elide past some of its savagery while highlighting some of the relatable absurdity.
VERDICT While an author’s note acknowledges that a true bibliography would be limited, this could still be an excellent authority in distilling the complexities of Norse mythology and making it accessible to younger readers interested in folklore.

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