“The Valley of the Worm”
Bragi’s clan had been slaughtered there in the place of broken stone. Niord, the warrior Grom had called yellow-hair, stood upon the crest looking down at the carnage. This was no man who killed the Aesir clan, this tragedy was handed down by the beast feared by all Pictish men. The great worm of the valley.
Niord swore that very moment upon Ymir, he would exact revenge. His first task, however, was gathering powerful weapons to defeat such a monster. Niord remembered one story Grom had shared over a campfire many nights beforehand. It involved the great serpent Satha, for the beast’s venom was so powerful death came to any man within two heartbeats. With great reluctance, the Pict warrior, Grom, agreed to guide the Asgardian south into the great jungle canopies.
What ancient evil awaits Niord and Grom inside the fallen temple grounds? Do the dark gods of old still hold power over men in a world that has forgotten them? Will the bodies of Bragi’s people find peace in the low valley lands?collect the series to find out!
I’m not sure how this story qualifies as a “supernatural” thriller, but coming from the mind of Robert E. Howard, I will cut this one some slack. Yes, there are monsters, but no, they are of your standard fantasy stock. The “Valley of the Worm” is set in the lands of Hyboria, sometime in the early history of the Aesir and Asgardian tribes. We find the two peoples in a time of a great migration.
I really enjoyed this comic book even though there were some discrepancies. First off, this is a sword and sandals story in the lines of Conan the Barbarian and Kull the Conqueror. Secondly, I believe the creatives over at Marvel misinterpreted who the Picts were.
I know when this comic book was written it was the pre-internet age, but Robert E. Howard’s work was well documented even by the early 1970’s. With that said, aren’t the Picts of the Hyborian age supposed to be based on the real life Picts of Great Britain? You know, men of white skin?
In this book Gil Kane illustrates the Picts as men of dark skin and facial features more akin to modern Africans. If I remember correctly, aren’t the black tribes of Hyboria more associated with the Stygia area of the map? Did Gil drop the proverbial ball? Oops, I guess.
This was an excellent story in any case. Robert E. Howard borrows heavily from Norse Mythology, but changes just enough material to fit his world. The art was really well done, and I think modern fantasy collectors would enjoy having this in their libraries. I’m giving this issue four out of five stars.