Well the Spartans are still dickheads… no surprise there, but this time around we find out that they’re dickheads to themselves as well! I once again did not like this book. I wanted to give it one more shot before calling it good and I think that this issue is it for me. The plot construction is disjointed which leaves the story feeling as if there isn’t a real narrative. It’s bordering a biographical story and the problem with every biographical story, in my opinion, is that life doesn’t follow a three act structure. In fact this issue has more of a two act build rather than three. I guess you could count the last few pages as the final act, but it would be out of pity more than anything resembling an actual structure. Spoilers ahead.
I’m not going to say too many spoilers or details, but again due to the odd construction it’s pretty impossible to discuss anything about this issue without including some. The series is called Three for a reason and it was clear that we were going to follow three Herlot’s after the last issue. We pick up with the slaughter of the Herlot’s after Terpander insulted them. Wouldn’t you know it the cripple comes back and manages to save… well just the woman we met and Terpander, but the annoying prince dude gets away and warns the other Spartans.
That’s the first half of the issue and really it could have been more or less since nothing is accomplished that we couldn’t figure out in the first issue. Again, the series is called Three. Everything afterwards is just a history lesson… again. I mean I understand that Kieron Gillen wants it to be historically accurate, but that makes this for a very niche group of people. I love history, but this is some weird mesh of biography and comics that doesn’t work. If you want a good example of the comic medium and biographical history working in harmony then read With Only Five Plums because that is a master piece. This just feels like a fictional story that started off with some roots in history and then became more history than fiction.
Sadly the art is great. The problem is that it’s forced to work within the confines of the narrative. Kelly’s art style is a good fit for the era.
Instead of ripping into this series each issue I’m going to call it good here. The premise is interesting and the art is great, but there’s no narrative journey to get attached to. It’s so ripe with history that everyone comes across as murdering assholes and frankly that’s not a fun story to read. Maybe it’s for you, but it’s definitely not for me.
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Ryan Kelly Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 11/13/13