Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn

Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn Review

O’Brien Press
Written and Illustrated by: Will Sliney

Will Sliney, the Cork-based artist of Fearless Defenders, illustrates the legendary Irish hero Cú Chulainn in this vivid graphic novel adaptation. While not so well-known outside of Ireland, the “Hound of Ulster” bears many similarities to the predestined heroes of Greek mythology;  a warrior who single-handedly defended his homeland against the armies of Queen Maeve of Connacht, and was damned by a prophecy which promised him long-lasting fame for a short-lasting life.

Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn

Sliney’s take on the mythology owes a lot to The Mighty Thor in terms of tone and aesthetic. Yes, this is very much a comic book comic retelling of the Irish folklore, with a bare-chested hero who bears a striking resemblance to He-Man, and a busty villainess in Maeve of Connaught. Not that I’m criticising Sliney’s approach whatsoever – give me entertaining comics over historically accurate ones (or as historically accurate as mythical retellings can be) any day.

Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn is a dynamic, visceral experience, and Sliney’s talents lend the book a sense of energy and scope that will appeal to readers of all ages. Sliney also employs a series of monochromic flashbacks, fashioned to look like aged scrolls, which do a great job of showcasing his excellent inks and chiselled pectorals.

Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn

As is often the case with graphic novels written by experienced artists, I never felt fully engaged in the book’s narrative, or invested in the Irish folklore surrounding Cú Chulainn. Celtic Warrior is a largely visual offering, then, but that’s fine by me, and the book’s final page, present-day splash provided a fitting tribute to the pre-comics superhero.

Carl Doherty has written about movies, video games, comic books and literature for almost a decade, forging ill-informed critiques for numerous websites, blogs and publications that no one has ever heard of. His debut novel, the epic fantasy comedy Welcome to The Fold, is available now on Kindle here (UK) and here (US).

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