There are narratives that are good because they give you something new. I think readers search for this constantly. And for good reason. I like creative and innovative stories. That is usually what I go for I think. But sometimes it is good to get something with an older style. The comic Arawn takes it back. It takes is way back. I mean mythopoeic back. I really enjoyed the story because I love mythology and mythology based stories. I hadn’t read a great mythological narrative in a while and Arawn was exactly the kind I like.
Arawn is the story of an anti-hero who becomes either a demon of a god through a series of unfortunately ill-fated events. He is born to a mother who does not want him for multiple reasons. Firstly, he is one of her twin bastard sons, born not from the seed of her beloved husband, but from a rape she suffered at the hands of a dark priest who was under the influence of a magical blood cauldron. Secondly, Arawn is seen as being born defective. He is born without a penis. His mother, being a fierce warrior, literally throws him to the wolves because of his inadequacies. Instead of dying, he is taken in by a wolf pack and is raised to be one of them. After surviving the wilds and growing up as a wolf puppy, he rejoins his original family. When his mother allows him to come back he rejoins his twin older brothers and his own twin. The twin older brothers are favored by their mother. Arawn and his twin are loved and not neglected, but they definitely do not receive the same love as the older set of twins who are the sons of their mother’s husband.
Their mother is a reader of mystic bones which tell her the future. Later on in the story you find that the bones themselves are important to the story for more than just their abilities to foretell the future. Their mother reads the bones and receives the futures of her sons. She sets them all on adventures to claim their birthrights and then off into the world to fulfill their destinies. All of the sons are destined to be kings but the futures given by the bones are incomplete. The brothers become kings but they are driven to fight one another due to their separate birthrights as sons of different fathers, their ambitions, their envies, the living blood cauldron and a beautiful bride. All out war between the brothers involving wolves, gods of the heavens, creatures of hell and living blood cauldron takes place with the end result being that Arawn is the only surviving brother. But his survival as a human being is questionable. He ends up as an immortal god or demon who exists in solitude. His only human companionship comes from the body-less head of his former servant who sees a traitor and the body of his deceased wife. The fates are extremely unkind to Arawn. You really feel for him.
The story is interesting enough as it is but what I like most about it is its unapologetic mythological style. It gives off that strong sense of ancient hyperbole that goes so overboard that you get lost in the story. It keeps you from questioning things in anyway. You just roll with the story. The art adds to it as well. Honestly, I usually don’t like the style of art the comic is depicted in but it fits that mythological style so well that it won me over immediately. I mean that art style reminds me of heavy metal posters and t-shirts that I see in pictures from the 90s. But from what I have experienced in this comic, that art style matches up perfectly with Celtic and Norse mythology.
I you want a dose of mythology give this one a read. I bet you get the urge to read some Celtic, Greek or Norse mythology right afterwards.