By: Ben McCool and Mario Guevara
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 6.5 x 10.25, full color, $24.99
Review by: Eric Campos, special to Diamond BookShelf
It is 13th century Russia. The land is bombarded by more than the bitter cold. From the east threatens the vast Mongol empire, and to the west Teutonic extremists invade Russia proclaiming a holy crusade. The people face subjugation and religious persecution. In defiance of this arose Alexander Nevsky, the warrior-prince who drove out the invaders, proclaiming Russia a free and proud nation.
Nevsky's life has inspired countless retellings over the years including the 1938 film, Alexander Nevsky, which this graphic novel is based upon. Nevsky, A Hero of the People brings the story to life with bold artwork that seems to nod to Conan the Barbarian. Filled with detailed action sequences and landscapes, the novel delivers an immense visual scope to match the dramatic weight of the unfolding storyline. Much of the novel depicts epic battle scenes over the harsh Russian terrain. The wide-view images of the battle on the frozen lake Chudskoe are not only visually impressive, but are also a perfect blend of natural scenery and combat/death that seem to freeze in the chaos.
While at times over-dramatic in dialogue, the plot contains within its folds powerful themes of courage, national pride, and resistance. It begs the question, what is worth fighting for? For Alexander Nevsky, he fights to secure a free homeland and ensure his people's prosperity, making him a hero of resolute moral fortitude and strength. The violence and blood depicted throughout the pages makes this more suitable for older readers- teen and up. With scenes depicting mass slaughter and battle scenes, it can be graphic - but this matches the ferocity of the times. For those interested in action and historical stories, Nevsky, A Hero of the People, is bound to be a captivating read.