Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Juan Jose Ryp
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Backup Essay by Ed Bisham
Published by Valiant
Review by Robert Coffil
Britannia #3 takes every piece of subtly displayed in previous issues and throws it out the window. It unapologetically revels in the mysticism, sex and violence that were carefully parsed out in the previous two issues. As a result, the third issue of Britannia pushes the pedal to the medal in terms of action and makes it clear we’ve reached the climax of this story.
Detectioner Antonius Axia, our hero, picks up the action right where we left off, embroiled in mortal combat with a centurion who was performing his own ‘Wild Hunt’. Antonius defeats him, but finds himself in the clutches of demon he’s been fighting off this entire series. His usual method of defense doesn’t work, and it if weren’t for the help of the local wyrd woman, he would have been hard pressed to escape. I wasn’t expecting this level of magic/mysticism, to intrude upon the book, but it’s a more than welcome development.
Antonius dives deeper into Briton culture by visiting the local shaman and comes close to figuring out what is going on. After an unsettling visit to the shaman he talks to the commander of the local Roman garrison and uses his deductive reasoning to uncover some not so obvious connections. The issue ends on a cliff hanger that I feel like I should have seen coming, but it still spooked me.
This issue pulls no punches; it is hyper violent. The first two pages are the Roman equivalent of the first 10 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. To say the blood and gore caught me off guard is putting it lightly. This book has never shied away from violence, but I wasn’t expecting this right at the beginning of an issue. Ryp draws violence in a way that isn’t glamorous and immerses the reader in the muck of it all. It’s perfect for the tone the book strives for.
Jordie Bellaire’s coloring pushes Britannia #3 to the next level. While the entirety of this issue is set in Briton, the contrast between the moments engaged in hard broiled action have a different tone from the scenes steeped in magic, and then the moments set during the day have a different tone again. Jordie’s color helps distinguish the tone for each distinct setting this book provides, yet makes each feel like they’re still part of the same book.
Buy It! I usually like stories that aren’t as overt with their story and can hold back from the Tarantino level of violence this issue provided. Elements of the story that had until now been gently parsed out were pulled out into the light. This issue didn’t jump the shark, but it was close. I say buy because you have the first two issues, and the push towards more mystical themes may overpower the violent aspects as we move forward.
Check out our previous reviews for this series below!