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Review: Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1

Persian King Xerxes sets out to conquer the world to avenge his father Darius’s defeat and create an empire, unlike anything the world has ever seen . . . Until the hardy Greeks produce a god king of their own, Alexander the Great.

Frank Miller returns to the world of 300 with this new five issue series. 300 was groundbreaking in many ways. Visually it was amazing. It was also homophobic, historically inaccurate, but also entertaining. I expected much of the same with Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1. So far, the most cringe worthy aspects of 300 are missing (so far). But, so too is the amazing visuals and entertainment.

Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1 reads like poetry in some ways, a journal in others. A lot of Miller’s writing does. There’s the expected stilted dialogue and captions, again typical for Miller. But, what stands out most is the fact it’s boring. Really boring.

300 has a certain life about it in the visuals alone. The art is gorgeous and even without the dialogue, it’s a comic that you can sit down and just stare at the visuals. Here, Miller feels like he’s doing an imitation of himself and missing what made his previous work great. The violence is over the top as people are chopped down in ways that defy physics. It’s distracting at times, so too is the lettering which feels like an afterthought at times.

About the most interesting thing about the first issue is some of the panel layouts which are interesting both in good and bad ways. The flow on pages at times works and at other times feels like a train off the tracks.

Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1 feels like a generic knock-off of the original. If this was done by someone else, I’d say they were trying to imitate Frank Miller. The fact that it’s actually Frank Miller is headscratching.

There is little in this first issue that has me wanting to come back for more. The issue isn’t exciting, the pacing all over. The visuals either over the top or boring. There’s a bit of magic missing from this first issue. I know Miller isn’t the creator he once was but this first issue shows how far he’s fallen off from being at the top of the hill.

Maybe it’ll get better? But I’m not sure I’m sticking around considering there’s so much out there that’s better.

Story: Frank Miller Art: Frank Miller Cover: Frank Miller Color: Alex Sinclair
Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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