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Review: Britannia #2

britannia_002_variant_rypDispatched to the remote outpost of Britannia by Rome’s highest power, the ancient world’s first detective – veteran legionnaire Antonius Axia – has found himself on a horrifying journey that will challenge everything he knows about death, destiny, and the limits of reality itself. But in this wild and pagan land, far removed from Nero’s control and influence, how will he grapple with the witches, demons and deities that lurk just out of sight? These are aberrations beyond the comprehension of a citizen of history’s most civilized empire…and, as Axia searches for the truth behind their making, he must first ask himself: Are these monsters truly creatures of myth… or creations of his own mind?

There are two reasons I’m excited about this series; one is the art team of Juan Jose Ryp whose pencils are so perfectly suited to this comic with his graphically violent, detailed and at times elegant style (I’m aware it’s a love it or hate it style – I love it), and the incomparable Jordie Bellaire with her atmospheric and gripping colour work. Both are two of my favourite artists, so when I found out that they were working together on a comic I knew I’d be all in. The other thing that gets me excited is the setting.

Roman Britain has always fascinated me, in part because of the city walls that encircle pieces of the city of my birth, and the history around me as I grew up on the very edge of Roman occupation of Britain. There are remnants of the Romans all over England, but if you far enough to the south and west they stop, and if you find the right area where the mists will roll in faster than I can type this, where the roads have yet to reach, where ancient buildings can be found with the stone foundations still in place,  then you can find a sense of what the land would have been like nearly two thousand years ago.

It’s this eerie sense that permeates every page of Britannia, a comic that reads almost like a story about an ancient Sherlock Holmes, that’s a little unsettling as Antonius Axia uses logic and deduction to try to combat the more traditionally held superstitious values of the time. There’s a great sequence with Axia seemingly reading a person’s mind, and the uncertainty on his face is easy to read – Axia’s abilities are like nothing in the ancient world, even if they’re commonplace to us in modern times.

With Britannia #2Peter Milligan delivers a comic far removed from the superhero fare that fills many of the racks at your local comic shop, but it’s also far better than most of those comics. We’re halfway through the miniseries now, and I’ve loved every page so far.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Juan Jose Ryp Colour Art: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I am also buying one this Wednesday.

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