Review by Ian Keogh
After two gritty, urban slice of life/crime graphic novels with connected characters, Gerry Hunt’s next project tinkered with his formula by featuring the same cast, but having a resurrected and vengeful Viking set loose on in Dublin. The effect is rather a shock to the system, like seeing the Walking Dead invade Coronation Street.
In Dublin City and Streets of Dublin introduced the Bradys, the father with his own small foundry, the son a police sergeant, and the French family, the parents setting no responsible example for their children. The result is one petty criminal, another more likeable son in danger of heading that way, and a daughter with a job who hides her real personality. Draugr (pronounced DROW-Gar) is a Viking term for a resurrected warrior, and he emerges from the cemetery where Hughie French has been looting scrap metal, the Viking treasures he finds providing a welcome bonus. The only thing is, the Draugr wants his treasure back, and Dublin’s pawn shops soon resemble battlegrounds.
An architect by trade, Hunt is a schizoid artist. His image referenced locations are beautifully detailed, but he takes a far looser approach to figures, some of which are sloppy, but there’s a constant movement about them, and given the action priorities of Draugr you’ll be hooked in.
As Paul Gravett astutely notes in his back cover quote, Hunt’s stories are infused with the spirit of British adventure comics of the 1970s, which readily mixed everyday life with the supernatural. Those comics wouldn’t have been permitted to be as explicitly violent, but that violence is funny. Headless zombie vs vicious pitbull – who’ll come off worse? Hunt keeps escalating the threat to a fantastic finale that makes great use of the Draugr’s supposed abilities. Yes there are numerous plot holes, and Hunt helpfully supplies some of them in his final caption, but this isn’t supposed be taken seriously, and is a lot of energetic fun.