Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Juan Jose Ryp
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Covers by Cary Nord, Lewis Larosa and Brian Reber, Andres Guinaldo and Michael Spicer, Ryan Lee and Allen Passalaqua, Dave Johnson
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Cover Price: $3.99
I’m a sucker for all things historic. Even when they aren’t really all that historic. Take this comic, for instance. Britannia #1 is a dark, twisted tale that is set in Rome during the first century. This is the dawn of the Roman Empire as we all know it. But what if the myths and legends of the deities and demigods were based on actual events? This is the state of things as our story begins.
Read on for more details.
Antonius Axia is more than your average centurion. He’s a war hero that’s been hand picked by the leader of the Vestal Virgins, a group of women more powerful than even Nero himself. Her need for his services casts him into a difficult position and one that quite nearly causes him to lose his sanity! And though he is successful in both the task set for him and the recovery thereafter, he is plagued by horrific nightmares night after night.
But when something wicked is discovered in Roman occupied Britannia, Emperor Nero himself sends Axia north to cure the empire of its woes. For in times recent, our former centurion has become quite the detective and has been responsible for the solving of many high profile cases. Against his own better judgement and personal preferences, our man heads out to get to the root of the problem. What he finds, however, is far more than he expected. As a matter of fact, it dredges up some extraordinarily painful memories and proves that all things in life are cyclical.
An intriguing tale, Britannia #1 finds a precarious balance between historical settings and a sort of fantasy noir ambiance. Merging possibilities with outright horror, writer Peter Milligan encases an almost Lovecraftian concept within the trappings of a historical mystery, hinting at a more hard-boiled concept than one might expect from a four-issue comic miniseries. There’s a lot packed into this issue and the artwork from Juan Jose Ryp lends itself nicely to it. Broad strokes and well focused panels drive the story forward and allow the script to shine through. Assisted by the bold and vibrant colors provided by Jordie Bellaire, the art seems perfect for this comic. I’m especially taken in my the Cersei-like facial expressions of Rubria, the Chief Vestal.
Buy this. Read this. Procure this however you can, for it is a building block for what will be a meticulously written, superbly timed tale of a more magical Roman Empire, complete with the druids of Britannia. If you pass this up you’ll be doing yourself an injustice. Valiant Entertainment has outdone themselves with this one. I can see now why they consider this part of their new concept line: The Future of Valiant. But seriously, snag this as soon as you can.