Britannia: We Who Are About to Die #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
A review by Josh Rose
Antonius Axia, the world’s first detective, is back in Britannia: We Who Are to Die #1 and its up to him to figure out who or what is killing the children of Rome’s elite citizens.
Back from Britannia, Antonius is “detectioning” in the City of Rome and looking for a group of missing boys. After Antonius discovered the boys slaughtered in the Temple of Apollo, Rome is gripped in fear, many blaming the Vestal Virgins for upsetting the gods. Some high ranking senators decide to take advantage of the situation to discredit the Vestals and further their own position. Rubria, the chief Vestal, persuades Antonius to work for her again and find out what is happening. As Antonius investigates, visiting the families of the deceased, he comes across a Gladiator plaque, something not typically seen in the homes of nobles, and decides to go to the gladiator fights to see if he can find a connection between the deaths and the games.
Peter Milligan is creating a fantastic world and a brilliant mystery, while staying true to history and diving deep into characters’ motivations. This isn’t your typical Roman story about gods, monsters and men. Its about the first man to understand psychology and how those ancient people react to him.
Being a former History major, one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about the Britannia series are the mini-lectures at the end of each issue concerning various topics, such as the society and religions of both Rome and Britannia. Britannia: We Who Are About to Die #1 continues this tradition with a short article on the Gladiators.
Juan Jose Ryp does a fantastic job on the artwork, making a bloody mess of everything but after reading Britannia I know he has plenty of room to turn the gore up to an 11. He makes Emperor Nero look like he’s about to go over the edge into madness and Apollo looks absolutely terrifying!
Buy It – Britannia: We Who Are About to Die #1 starts off with a bang, setting up an incredible mystery and a gives a little tease of how gory and violent it will get later on. A great place to start for new readers, and recommended to any fan of Ancient Rome.