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Comic Book / Heathen (2017)

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Heathen is a comic book series written by Natasha Alterici (of Gotham Academy fame).

Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.

This work provides examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: The first thing Freya does after Brunhilde is free is to bring the valkyries with her to show off that she has Brunhilde's old position, and then is quick to kidnap Aydis for herself just to spite her. It is later revealed that she took Aydis to save Brunhilde the heartbreak of watching another suitor die.
  • Amazon Brigade: Makeda's crew are a rag-tag crew of all-female pirates that search the seas with the intent of raiding slave-ships and freeing the slaves aboard, every member having been a slave before Makeda freed them.
  • Amicable Exes: While their marriage was null and void after he was turned immortal, Sigurd and brunhilde clearly still like each other.
  • Crossover Cosmology: While Norse Mythology is the primary theme, gods from other mythologies turn up as well, most notably the Celtic Trickster God Ruadan.
  • Death by Childbirth: Aydin's mother was alone when she gave birth to her, not dying until her husband found them.
  • Gender Bender: Freyra seems to have this ability, responding to Odin's rejection of her advances by turning male, thinking that his disinterest involves his orientation.
  • Hide Your Lesbians:
    • When Aydis was caught kissing her friend Liv, the elders gave her father the choice of either marrying her off or executed. He then fakes her death, allowing her to make a new life for herself.
    • Brunhilde and Sigurd come across a mob trying to Lynch an innocent woman for inflicting bad luck and evil through witchcraft, one such evidence being demonic possession. When Brunhilde questions the woman on the possession, the woman told her that the young man asked for her help in purging himself of his carnal desires for other men.
  • Horns of Barbarism: When Brunhilde meets Aydis, she cannot help but comment on the antlers the latter had sown into her leather helm. Aydis claims that it is to scare Christians who would want to mess with her, having heard of how the Christians demonize heathens and claim that they have horns on their heads.
  • Hot God: Freyra, Goddess of Love and new Queen of the Valkyries, has a habit of leaving humans speechless with her beauty. Her forwardness and naked breasts certainly don't help things.
  • Humans Are Insects: Odin believes that humans are animals that need to be tamed; that they would destroy themselves if he shows any leniency. Freyra, having been among humans, knows that they are more complicated than that and thinks that Odin is only making mankind paranoid at imaginary enemies.
  • Love Hurts: One of the valkyries curses out Freyra for making them comprehend love when Odin compels her to kill Shannon to teach Freyra her place.
  • Lover, Not a Fighter: As petty as she can be, Freya admits that she has no interest in the battle and bloodshed being Queen of the Valkyries requires of her.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The only way for one to free Brunhilde from her ring of fire is to muster the courage to leap through it. Any form of cheating (such as when one person tried using an elixir of courage he bought from a witch) means instant death.
  • Our Wights Are Different: Wights are described as being guardian spirits that take on animal forms. While they are able to speak, only immortals like Hati, Skull and Brunhilde are able to understand them. Aydis's horse Saga is such a wight.
  • Pirate Girl: Makeda's crew are a rag-tag crew of all-female pirates that search the seas with the intent of raiding slave-ships and freeing the slaves aboard, every member having been a slave before Makeda freed them.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Raudan is only able to shape-shift with the use of his magical cloak. If it ever gets stolen, he is trapped in the form he was in, such as when his cloak was stolen by mermaids, trapping him in the form of a fox.
  • Straw Misogynist: Odin seems to think that men are better than women because nature dictates that Might Makes Right and that men are predisposed for physical and emotional strength.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: When questioned why she added antlers to her helmet, Aydin admits that it was to emulate how Christians would illustrate how vikings - whom they call "heathens" - as wearing horns to demonize them, so she felt it was appropriate.
  • Those Two Guys: Hati and Skull. Two talking wolves waiting for the world to end.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Odin seems to see his rule in Hobbesian terms, believing that without his iron-first, humanity will destroy itself.