Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Gillen, Kelly, Bellaire & Cowles
Sparta has had plenty of stories told about them in recent years, perhaps the most famous is Frank Miller’s “300”, which chronicles the 300 Spartan warriors that defended their people against an army of Persian warriors. This comic book covers the culture of Sparta, specifically that of the Sparta-Helot/master-slave harsh reality. The book is not what I expected and I wasn’t hooked enough to buy future issues. You might find this to your liking if you are heavily into Spartan history and comics that covers grizzly slave life.
The shift I find with this book’s execution versus my expectations is that of the characters. I found the book to be very shallow with the character depictions. I felt that each character that was introduced was disposable and generic. This made the book difficult to appreciate the hard life of a Helot.
The book attempts to introduce the characters and provide the reader with enough of a background to understand the master/slave dynamic. It works to an extent but the image of what a Spartan is when you consider works such as 300 it seems like this isn’t enough to break that mold.
The book’s art is good and delivers some suspenseful images that are worthy of the epic nature of the time period. The difficulty with the artwork is the depiction of one of the primary slave characters (one of the “Three”). The depiction ranges from panel to panel, especially in the eyes, that make the character appear smart then loopy then sleepy and this pattern only broadens by the end. I’m not sure what this character’s mental state is supposed to be but he appears to be an idiot in this book. I’m not sure that was the point but I found it confusing.
This was a tough first issue. I had high expectations and really wanted to love this book but it just didn’t happen. The characters don’t really show any interesting promise and the painting of the Spartans as villains feels too forced. When you read a comic and find yourself hoping that they all die then you probably aren’t the reader this book is trying to reach.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles