Britannia: We Who are About to Die #2
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Frankie D’Armata
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
A review by Josh Rose
The Detectioner is back in Rome and the stakes have been raised even higher. Britannia: We Who are About to Die #2 continues the investigation of Antonius Axia into the mysterious deaths of Roman citizens.
After being recruited by both the Chief Vestal Virgin and Emperor Nero to investigate the strange deaths attributed to the gods, Antonius Axia comes across Achillia, a female gladiator who has gained notoriety in the games. His attempt to interview the she-warrior reveals that many would-be assassins have attempted to kill her, and that she may know something about the curse afflicting Rome. It turns out that Achillia does know the witch that has placed a curse on Rome and she has also cursed Axia’s son Avitus! Meanwhile, Nero and one of the Senators are plotting something nasty for both Axia and Achillia.
Peter Milligan does an excellent job diving deeper into the mystery surrounding the curse and developing roman society and how the citizens react to Achillia’s character. While this series is historically accurate to a point, Milligan takes the times to use Britannia: We Who are About to Die as a commentary on women’s rights and status for the modern world. Achillia is a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man. All she wants is to be free and to be no man’s property, to not be used and abused at their whim.
Juan Jose Ryp as usual does an amazing job displaying emotion in each character’s face, and making the gladiator fights as bloody as possible. His representations of the gods are horrifying and do a great deal of sowing seeds of dread into the reader.
The lectures on Roman civilization continue in Britannia: We Who are About to Die #2, this time in the form of a loose narrative on Roman woman. Probably one of the quickest articles yet, L.C. Carr describes the lives of 4 different women and their status within society. These lessons provide great insight to Roman society.
Buy it – The stakes for Rome’s first detective are raised in Britannia: We Who are About to Die #2, and his life isn’t the only one at risk. This is a fantastic story that combines fantasy, mystery, and history, and contains some commentary on modern society. If that doesn’t grab you, at least check out the beautiful artwork.