Vault’s immensely popular series Heathen is making a comeback at the end of this month. Viking warrior/outcast Aydis’ story continues with issue #9 as the self-proclaimed heathen is ambushed by trolls after arriving at the godlands. Now as their captive, Aydis must figure out how to make the trolls her allies or risk her entire mission.

Ahead of the book’s return, creator and writer Natasha Alterici and artist Ashley A. Woods chatted with The Beat about what to expect in volume 3.

Deanna Destito: How was it returning to the world of Heathen?

Natasha Alterici: I just love it. The characters and setting hold a special place in my heart. Also exciting to see how they’ve grown and changed from when I first started putting this story together years ago. This especially now that we have a new artist’s take.

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Ashley A. Woods: Returning to the world of Heathen has been a wonderful and mysterious experience. It has easily been one of my favorite projects to draw.

Destito: What can you tell us about this arc?

Alterici: This is the final leg of the journey for Aydis, and really for all the people, gods, and wights she met along the way. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that Aydis will finally come face to face with the godking himself.

Woods: All of the characters inch closer to the truth and therefore step into leadership roles within their respective journeys.

Destito: How easy is it for new readers to jump in now?

Alterici: I would advise starting from the beginning since this is the continuation of the complete story.

Woods: The story is so engaging that newer readers could easily get hooked if they were to jump into one of the more recent issues. That was my experience. However once you’ve had a taste of that world, you’d definitely feel inclined to read the story from the very beginning.

Destito: Ashley, what about the series made you join the creative team?

Woods: Growing up with TV shows like Xena and Hercules, I’ve always loved all things based in mythology and fantasy. Natasha created such a rich and enticing world with Heathen so it only felt natural for me to join. I have been having an awesome time drawing these recent issues in the series.

Destito: Are there any new characters in this arc that you are excited to introduce?

Alterici: We have a father daughter pair of trolls who I absolutely adore. Ashley really gave them personality.

Destito: Why is a book like this so important now?

Alterici: I always find it a bit weird to call any art important, but I do get why it would resonate with people. There is injustice in our world, and in Aydis’, and people want to believe things will get better. I hope folks can see that it is ordinary people from all walks of life working together that can right those injustices.

Destito: Can you tease any upcoming arcs or characters you may have in mind?

Alterici: I am satisfied with how Volume 3 wraps up Aydis’ journey, and I hope the readers will be, too. So for now, that is probably where it will stay. I can tell you many of your favorites from the first two volumes will be returning for one last hurrah.

Heathen #9 hits comic shops on February 26. Visit Vault’s website for more on the series, and stay tuned for updates on the film adaptation currently in development.

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