“Secundus fights two.” That line will have zero context for you until you read this issue, but once you do… you’ll see why it’s so badass. This book is straight forward; it’s set in the Gladiator times and a slave is about to earn his freedom, but that description captures nothing of the charm of the story. It may be straight forward, but the sharp dialog and emotions behind the story are what will make this Submit release worth picking up.
As I said, a slave is attempting to earn his freedom with his fortieth match. Instead of huge crowd though, the Emperor has decide to make it a special occasion and bring one of his mistresses to the match and strangely enough his magician. As Secundus fights two men at once, the Emperor actually explains to us why he’s called Secundus. It’s because he always fights two at once, no matter what. The Emperor complains about his magician who cut his favorite whore in half and then on top of that splashes wine in his face as if he were more of a jester. Secundus wins, but the magician says that he’ll fight him to win the Emperor’s favor again and destroy his favorite toy. Secundus looks at the magician and says, “Secundus fights two.” The magician informs him that he’ll have his two and even though he’s a free man, Secundus puts his life on the line for a second time that day.
The story is very fast paced, but it’s the perfect balance for the action and dialog. It’s well plotted and the catch of the story is great with the ending being the icing on the cake. Secundus literally only has a panel or two of dialog, but we learn everything we need to know about the man from his actions and the Emperor. The story does rely on the reader having some information about gladiator battles, but not much and really who doesn’t know a little about it at this point in our information based society?
The art is in all grey tones with the exception of one color used on only one object. It’s very effective for the story and is honestly just cool looking. The art style itself reminded me of an animated movie and would actually make for a great short. There’s just something very familiar about the art style and it mostly comes for the eyes and the nose. The action was easy to follow and was the perfect backdrop for the Emperor’s dialog which runs over it for most of the issue.
This is a great one and done type of story. It entertains and has a rewarding conclusion that while it remains open-ended enough for more stories, perfect closes out this chapter at the same time. If you’re looking for just something solid to read and don’t want the commitment of an ongoing, long running idea like most other comic titles, then would definitely recommend checking out Secundus.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Mike Thomas Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/15/13 Available on Submit