Kelu just wants to see what life is like beyond the family farm. Not that she doesn’t enjoy playing in the woods with her nieces and nephews, or helping out her mother and sisters, but life is a bit boring. At least, until she catches the eye of one of the goblins.
Kelu desperately wants to go to the Trader’s Festival, to finally see some faces besides her family, but the men leave her behind, along with the other women and children. Later that day, a group of Saengorian refugees arrive, fleeing the war in the South. Kelu’s family welcomes them, but the refugees reveal they are really on a mission from the King of Saengor to retrieve dragon scales. Taking everyone else hostage, the bandits force Kelu to go out and find some. Having no choice, she goes up the mountains, hoping to find one of the goblins, who guard the Clans from Saengor invaders. But Kelu is unaware that a particular goblin has fallen in love with her. And there is a price for protecting one’s loved ones in the North.
Written by Allison Shaw, Far to the North details the trials of a young woman thrust into an impossible situation. Stuck on a remote farm and between generations in her family, Kelu wishes for marriage, as it is the only way to see new people and have new experiences. Despite these thoughts, she is far from a damsel in distress, as shown in the first pages when she defends her younger cousins from a dragon. All the women in the family are quite strong, both physically and mentally, fighting back when the Saengorians attack them. Shaw’s depictions of Kelu is fresh and noteworthy, a young woman who is not afraid to jump into danger, but still feels the full range of emotions.
The artwork is quite detailed. The setting is reminiscent of traditional Nordic architecture and clothing, an isolated area. Shaw prefers magical realism, keeping the characters natural in proportion, anatomy, and design, including the mythical creatures. As the name implies, Far to the North set in an isolated mountain-forested area, within the middle of winter. Shaw uses cool colors—blue, purple, gray, and darker greens—in both the landscape and the clothes for her characters, enhancing the seclusion and solitude of the wintry background. The Northern women are taller than the Saengorians, but remain proportional in muscle, unlike in other media where tall people are depicted as extremely slender. There are depictions of violence, but only in keeping with the action, not exaggerated for dramatic effect.
Far to the North is a comic about a young woman who wished for an adventure, and got one. Read it at Farnorthcomic.com.