Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colorist: Frankie D’Armata
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
A review by Josh Rose
The plot thickens in Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3. Not only are Achilla, the gladiator who stole the hearts of Rome’s women, and Antonius Axia, the world’s first detective, up to their necks in trouble, so is Antonius’ son Avitus. Antonius and Bran must find the sorceress controlling the youth of Rome before the god Apollo kills again.
One thing that I really liked about Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3 was Peter Milligan’s use of their backstories in order to establish a kind of commonality between Antonius and Achilla. By going into their pasts he drew out the fact that despite they come from very different places they are both warriors. Milligan uses this time to plant a tiny bit of foreshadowing as well. As for the rest of this issue, its very suspenseful as Milligan leads Antonius and Bran all over and outside of Rome searching for the sorceress and his son.
Juan José Ryp is phenomenal on the art. Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3 is full of action, blood and when seemingly supernatural things happen, they are both parts creepy and trippy. Frankie D’Armata has such an incredible command over his colors I know exactly how I should feel with each panel I look at. His colors set the tone and atmosphere for each scene.
Dr. Michael Carter of Brock University in Canada wrote the lecture for Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3. He talked about the history of the arena games and busted some myths perpetuated by Hollywood. Dr. Carter goes into the origins of the games, how Emperor Augustus changed the games after he took over, the different types of gladiators, and how popular the gladiators were with citizens. Animal hunts and executions were a regular part of the games but they were used like political statements reflecting the power of the Roman empire more than anything else. Turns out the gladiators were a lot like today’s MMA fighters.
Buy it! This is one of my favorite series from Valiant. It stands alone from the rest of their universe, but could easily be tied in. Milligan has written a great story and Ryp’s art is always beautiful to look at. The lecture series at the end of each issue are always a highlight for me and I learn something interesting each time. If you haven’t picked up anything from either Britannia volume yet you’d better get on it!