Previously in Vikings #2
Vikings: Uprising #3 | Writer: Cavan Scott | Art: Daniel Indro | Colors: Kevin Enhart | Letters: Jim Campbell | Cover: Chris Wahl & Claudia Caranfa | Publisher: Titan Comics
Uprising’s third issue continues its story of a fallen Viking King; his actions framed as part of a complex societal structure that is long gone, but accessible to the reader in terms of the only thing that traverses time: our humanity.
With a slave rebellion that continues to grow, in part due to Ragnar’s guidance and control, coupled with a drought and a lack of opportunity for the Northmen, the situation has steadily gotten more dire. What does a society based on receiving favor from their gods through sacrifice do? Sacrifice their slaves, of course.
There is a perceptible tension between the traditional Viking way of life and the crossroads where our characters find themselves. The realization of a successful settlement in Wessex would have gone a long way to easing the people’s hunger and the sparsity of supplies. But with his failure in Wessex, his loss to Rollo in Paris, and now dealing with his withdrawal from opium brought on by the slave girl Yidu, Ragnar is nothing but a shadow of the man he once was – Noted by Lagertha and Floki immediately upon their arrival in Kattegat.
“One man’s sacrilege is another man’s crusade.”
The long running tradition of Vikings capturing people to either be sold or kept as slaves produces a person like Colum, the leader of the slave rebellion. Colum has amassed a small militia of slaves and continues to rampage through the lands, freeing slaves while mercilessly killing their masters.
Now a hardened man with the halo of a new possible Christian religion behind him, he saves a trio of slaves who were about to be offered to the gods by a priestess as an offering for the loss of their leader, the Hersir. The Hersir was a local Viking military commander, who would have had 100 men or so at his command loyal to the King.
“I act so others will see. Condemn so others will know… The measure of their King.”
Lagertha and Floki arrive to impress upon Ragnar the urgency of putting down the growing slave uprising. We also have the arrival of one of the survivors of the slave massacres, Ingolf. Ragnar, no longer interested in matters of state, passes off his responsibilities to a capable Aslaug, but not before Lagertha makes note of his bandaged wrists.
Those bandages serve as a reminder that Ragnar did, in fact, try and kill himself in the last issue – an attempt that, should he have succeeded, would have denied him entrance into Valhalla and Heaven as well, unable to reunite with his fallen Viking brothers or with his friend Athelstan. This is displayed in one panel that shows just how broken Ragnar has become. But for now, he is still able to defend his title of King when Ingolf challenges his decision to bow out of the fight and hide himself away.
“Now do you see, father? Do you see where you have led us?”
With the soldiers provided by Aslaug, Lagertha departs to go after the escaped slaves, who when encountered are quickly put down. It’s easy to wonder if this rebellion will hold strong in the face of seasoned warriors, but even if they are put down, Ragnar’s weakness as a King has been exposed. We see this when Ingolf takes his revenge by killing Ragnar’s horse and places its head atop a hill on a spike. Bjorn shows this desecration to his father hoping this is what it will take to wake him up from his despondency.
Vikings: Uprising #3
With Lagertha continuing to assume a growing leadership role, which is unique, after following the woman herself and her proven skill as a warrior and tactician, it’s realistic and logical that these men would indeed follow her and her strength. Floki’s now playing the part of advisor to her; a role he once reserved for Ragnar. Every issue of Uprising at first glance might not immediately reveal its depths, but soon enough the reader is able to see how one panel can transform the story with its combination of history and the creation of an emotional attachment to its characters.