Tag Archives: britannia

Preview: Britannia Deluxe Edition HC

BRITANNIA DELUXE EDITION HC

Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP, ROBERT GILL, RYAN LEE, ROBERTO DE LA TORRE, JUAN CASTRO, BRIAN THIES
Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE, FRANKIE D’ARMATA, JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA, DIEGO RODRIGUEZ, ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover by DAVE JOHNSON
$49.99 | 320 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 31st | HARDCOVER | ISBN: 978-1-68215-320-8

On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery.

In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay.

Collecting BRITANNIA #1–4, BRITANNIA: WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE #1–4, and BRITANNIA: LOST EAGLES OF ROME #1–4, along with over 20+ pages of rarely seen art and extras!

BRITANNIA DELUXE EDITION HC

Review: Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #4

BRITANNIA3_004_COVER-B_GILLDeep within the heart of Egypt, there is unrest…and Antonius and Achillia have stumbled right into the middle of it! On the hunt for the Roman Empire’s missing banners at the behest of Emperor Nero, history’s first detective and his fearsome gladiatrix companion find themselves on the brink of many revelations: Who is responsible for the plagues threatening their Roman brethren? And who is this new revolutionary calling himself Pharaoh?

And like that, another Britannia miniseries comes to a close. Another four issue toe-dip into the live of Antonius Axa and his friends, colleagues and enemies that ends with a satisfying conclusion that never once feels rushed. It does wrap things up in a way that leaves little a room for for a sequel without any loose ends dangling annoyingly as the fourth issue closes.

In a series that has, across the previous eleven issues, established a precedent for gorgeous artwork, brutal violence and a smattering if dark humour, Peter Milligan‘s script for Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #4 once again delivers on the hallmarks of the series. And, once again, the art is spectacular. Robert Gill (with Juan Castro) has a deft hand when it comes to realising the emotions of the faces of his characters as well as the bloody swordplay they will inevitably engage in seemingly every issue. One could argue that each comic follows a basic formula of “Talky Bit, Fighty Bit, Talky Bit, Revalation!, Talky Bit”, and to some extent that’s true, but it’s an oversimplification of the plot and comic book itself. After all, can’t we break every comic down to that same basic formulae?

As a concluding chapter to the third Britannia series, I was impressed. Milligan kept the story a relatively simple affair that didn’t stray as deeply into the supernatural as it has in the past, instead allowing the characters to shine.

There’s a scene in which Nero’s growing madness is visible, and though he’s still a few year from burning Rome to the ground, you can see the emperors slow descent into the madness that we’ll continue to witness in the background of future installments to the series – something history aficionados and fans of the series will enjoy getting to witness in comic book form.

Lost Eagles Of Rome may be the third series under the Britannia  banner, but it can be read independently of the others  without giving the reader any real trouble when it comes to understanding the plot (though  I’m sure you know the blurb about getting the most out of the story, read it all, etc.). But whether you have read the first two volume or not, there’s plenty to enjoy with a detective story set nearly two thousand years ago spanning several countries wrapped up in a powerseizing conspiracy story that a gladiator and the detectioner tackle together.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series, and hope that Milligan and Valiant have another in the works for us.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Robert Gill with Juan Castro Colours: Jose Villarrubia
Story: 8.1 Art: 9 Overall: 8.4 Overall: Buy if you’ve bought the rest

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #3

BRITANNIA3_003_COVER-A_MACKAntonius Axia has survived the wilds of Britain and witnessed the horrors of his own homeland…and now, the trail of Emperor Nero’s stolen eagles relics has led him and gladiatrix Achillia to the newly annexed province of Egypt! But, those who once held power in the Fertile Crescent might not be so quick to welcome them…or any other nosy Romans, for that matter!

There’s something strangely refreshing about reading a comic that is effectively a police drama set in the first century AD. Unlike the previous two issues, there’s no hint of the supernatural elements that featured in the previous two minieries (nor the titular island), but I find the lack of these things add an interesting element to the story – Antonius is waiting for, or at least aware of the possibility that these things exist in the world, but hasn’t yet come to the conclusion these things are the only solution.

Peter Milligan is joined by a host of talented artists this issue (full credits below), and once again delivers a comic that maintains the consistent quality established from the outet of this miniseries and avoids any of the pacing issues that can plague four issue story arcs. Contrary to what you’d expect, there is a definite feeling at the end of this issue that the story can be wrapped up in the following 22 odd pages; most four issue miniseries I’ve read lately seem to spend two and a half issues setting up the story only to rush it’s conclusion in the following issue. No, instead we get a well paced comic that balances the proceedural aspects of a detective show with the swordplay you’d hope given the timeframe of the story.

Artistically, the comic is another win as Robert Gill (with Juan Castro and Brian Theis)’s line work is clean, concise and oh-so-easy to read. The choreography during the fight scenes highlights our heroes’ skills without diminishing the threat of those they’re facing, and the scenary has a beautifully ominous feel about it. Surely the sense of forboding within these pages comes from Jose Villarrubia (with Andrew Dalhouse)’s colouring work.

Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #3  has this miniseries on pace to be the best yet of the three in Peter Milligan’s story – and was the first in which I wasn’t waiting for the cameo of another Valiant character. Ultimately, if you’re already reading this series then you’re going to be happy with this issue. If you’re not partaking in Britannia, why not?

Story: Peter Milligan
Art: Robert Gill with Juan Castro
and Brian Theis
Colours: Jose Villarrubia
with Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #2

BRITANNIA3_002_COVER-A_NORDThree Roman legions lay slaughtered, and, with them, a cache of Rome’s most prized possessions has disappeared…

The mystery of the Roman Empire’s missing relics deepens into a deadly new case for Antonius Axia, history’s first detective and the ancient world’s sole possessor of the secrets of deduction and psychology. Now, Axia is on the hunt to recover the empire’s treasure by any means…and the trail is about to lead him directly into the mystical kingdom of Egypt!

By this point, the thought of a Roman who is merely observant, logical and intuitive in a world that is lost in superstition and polytheism should have moved beyond the initial novelty factor to stand or fall based solely on the quality of the story telling (after all the though of a super smart crime fighter who is more than a competent fighter isn’t new to comics). And for the most part, it has. Peter Milligan‘s story has spanned ten issues to date, with at least two more coming, and I can say that I am no longer reading this story for the Batman in Rome feel that some would label it as. Indeed, for some time I have been genuinely excited for each new part of Antonius Axia’s story, and Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #2 is no exception.

Happily, I can say that I enjoyed this more than anticipated.

The second issue in third series feature all the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from Britannia at this point; the Detectioner at work, a brutally realized confrontation featuring the female gladiator Achilla and Antonius working together against a group of assassins, and the odd scene of Nero slowly falling deeper and deeper into the sphere of madness. There’s also an oddly subtle commentary on the nature of freedom, and how people can so easily abuse the power and privilege one may not understand they have that runs through this issue (and if you’re curious, yes that does make it worth reading alone).

As the series hits the mid way point, we’re treated to one of the better offerings in Axia’s story thus far, which I’m hopeful is an upward trend in quality and not the the peak.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Robert Gill Colours: Jose Villarrubria
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Britannia: The Lost Eagles Of Rome #1

BRITANNIA3_001_COVER-A_THIESThe Roman standard – the eagle borne at the front of each Roman legion – was more than just a symbol of the soldiers that carried it… It was a symbol of Rome itself, the ultimate embodiment of the empire’s power…

But now, in the mist-shrouded Germanic forest of Tottenwald, the unthinkable has happened: A rampaging barbarian horde has crushed three of Rome’s most highly skilled detachments in battle… and captured their mighty Roman eagles.

His authority threatened by this all-too-public shame, the mad emperor Nero has dispatched Antonius Axia, the empire’s finest “detectioner” and hero of Britannia, and Achillia, the sword-wielding champion of the gladiatorial arena, to reclaim his stolen relics at any cost.

But what began as a simple mission will soon become a terrifying journey into the dark heart of belief itself as the isolated woodlands of Rome’s enemies reveal unseen dimensions…and the true power of the legion’s lost eagles threatens to consume any who would pursue them…

The above synopsis tells you all you need to know about the set up for the story to come as Antonius Axia, the Detectioner, tries to solve yet another mystery at the behest of the mad emperor Nero. Peter Milligan‘s story continues, with as yet no tangible connection to the Valiant Universe other than it’s set in the past (I’m not the only person waiting for an Eternal Warrior or Armstrong cameo, am I?), but the lack of connection doesn’t preclude one from enjoying a unique take on logic, history and mythology.

Milligan’s script is brought to life by Robert Gill (art), Jose  Villarrubia with Diego Rodriguez which lends a slightly different aesthetic than the last series – though no less incredible. Although there are some inconsistencies from Britannia: We Who Are About To Die in terms of the colour of certain character’s hair, for the most part the art remains as consistent as it needs to be given the gap between the second and third volume of Britannia.

While this is the first chapter in the third volume, one can start reading here with only minimal trouble; most of what you need to catch up is given to you in the recap page, and the rest you can pick up through the dialogue and narration as Axia navigates his way through ancient Rome. Ultimately, well worth checking out if you’re looking for something different from your traditional superhero fair.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Robert Gill
Colours: Jose Villarrubia with Diego Rodriguez
Story: 8.4 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3

“Wrath of the gods!

The women of Rome march to rebellion! Magic and mystery continue to intertwine as the clock ticks down to Rubria’s final hours. Will Antonius Axia and his mysterious new partner—the brutal female gladiator known as Achillia—untangle the knots that threaten to hang the Roman Empire…or will Nero finally obtain the dark power he lusted for? As the beaten ghost of Apollo finally rises to cast his dark judgment on all of Rome, history’s first detective must act swiftly before humanity’s final hours slip into madness!”

There are three glaring questions I had upon reading this issue that I really want to talk about first and foremost because ultimately they took me out of the comic too early. Now, I am aware that I may be overly tough on the comic, and that you may not agree, but I feel that these things warrant a mention. There will be minor spoilers for certain events within We Who Are About To Die #3, but I will attempt to avoid plot spoiler where possible.

  • “We’re doomed anyway. You might as well talk…” Because having a conversation during intense physical exercise where you are fighting for your life is a priority – or even an easy thing to do.
  • Ten minutes is a long time when fighting. I don’t have much experience in gladiatorial fighting, but I have fenced and regularly play archery tag. Ten minutes… the fight would have been long over, and the time was used as a brief pause. Had it been ten seconds, I wouldn’t have noticed. But ten minutes?
  • How the hell did a certain character get back on the streets after casually walking into an arena and have Nero call for his death? Did Nero forget that he’s not a prisoner? Did he care? Did nobody else think to stop him?

These three bullet points aren’t the only problems I had with this issue, but they’re the most glaring ones. Unfortunately, despite Juan Jose Ryp‘s hyper detailed art (that’s so great during the action scenes), We Who Are About To Die #3 continues the downward trend set by the second issue (which I didn’t review) as Peter Milligan takes a very interesting concept with a lot of potential and throws the baby out with the bathwater because of a few simple things that I outlined above.

I haven’t mentioned that the story seems to hover between wanting to be a supernatural tale and wanting to be a realistic story. This isn’t helped by Antonius Axia’s stubborn refusal to believe in the supernatural despite all he’s seen so far – at this point it’s probably time he opened his bloody eyes and pulled his head out of his arse. Nor have I mentioned how for a comic that should be detail orientated with Axia acting as the first detective, he seems to have information dropped onto his head more than he does figure it out.

And in what world would a smart man willingly walk into an arena commonly used for fighting to the death to ask somebody a question? Apparently this one (in issue #2)!

Look, it may seem as though I’m being overly harsh on the comic, but with the promise shown both during the first miniseries and in the synopsis of this series… I just feel like there’s a better story beneath the flaws of this issue. I don’t know whether we’ll get it at this point. Ultimately, this is still worth reading if you’ve read this far into the series, but just be aware that it’s not as solid as previous issues in the series.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 6 Art: 8.25 Overall: 6.75
Recommendation: Read if you’re invested. Pass if you’re not

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. 

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #1

BRITANNIA2_001_COVER-A_NORDFifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds – one lone warrior against five of Rome’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now, only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.

On the other side of Rome, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, Rome’s elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city…visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic ensues in the city. The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse that’s fallen on Rome is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome’s only detective, for help. She offers only one clue…the gladiator Achillia.

The first Britannia series received some mixed feelings from those who read it; some, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed it while others felt that it was at best a good set up for the next story, and not a truly self-contained arc in and of itself. While I can understand where that line of thinking comes from, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the first four issues in any way, and I’ve been looking forward to the beginning of the sequel since it was announced.

So does the first issue of We Who Are About To Die take a step forward from the first volume, or a step back?

I’m quite happy to say that not only does it take a good step forward, but if you’ve read the previous series then you’ll have an inkling of what to expect thematically; this isn’t a strictly historical story, as evidenced by the demons appearing last series. The first issue of We Who Are About To Die kicks off a few months after the events of the previous miniseries with another a particularly gruesome scene that will inevitably draw Antonius Axa, the Detectioner, into a web of lies and intrigue – and possibly more demonic influence – this issue reads more like a true crime story set around two thousand years ago than it does anything else.

Although Peter Milligan delivers a really solid story, the highlight of the comic for me is the art of Juan Jose Ryp. His hyper-detailed style fits the period, effortlessly captures the Roman citizens in the civilized brutality that we often associate with the time period (and especially the Colosseum), but the way in which Ryp captures Nero’s facial expressions hints toward a level of madness and paranoia not seen before in the series. As good as Miligan’s story and Ryp’s art are separately, the combination of the two elevates this into a must buy comic, whether you’ve read the first volume or not.

I can’t wait for the second issue.

Story: Peter Milligan  Artist: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 8.25 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review, I will be purchasing this comic on my next visit to my LCS.

Britannia Returns in April with Britannia: We Who Are About to Die!

Valiant has announced Britannia: We Who Are About to Die #1 (of 4) – a brand-new journey into myth and mystery from comics master Peter Milligan and artist Juan José Ryp! On April 26th, Valiant’s critically acclaimed, ten-time sold-out magnum opus returns with an all-new beginning and a startling new case for Antonius Axia, the world’s first detective… One with a haunting connection to the horrors of Rome’s arena and the very gods themselves…Fifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as

Fifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds – one lone warrior against five of Rome’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now, only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.

On the other side of Rome, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, Rome’s elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city…visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic ensues in the city. The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse that’s fallen on Rome is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome’s only detective, for help. She offers only one clue…the gladiator Achillia.On

Featuring covers by Eisner Award winner Cary Nord, Eisner Award nominee David Mack, rising star Adam Gorham, and Eisner Award winner Dave Johnson!

Britannia #4 Gets a Second Printing in January

As Valiant’s magnum opus enters its 10th astonishing printing, don’t miss your chance to experience the bone-crunching finale to this season’s runaway hit!

Valiant has announced that Britannia #4 (of 4) – the fearsome final chapter of Valiant’s prestige format epic from comics master Peter Milligan and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp has sold out at the distributor level and will return to store shelves with the Britannia #4 (of 4) Second Printing on January 25th!

On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…

Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

Antonius Axis may be bringing his first spirit-chasing case to a close, but the rise of civilization’s first detective has only just begun…

britannia_004_second-printing_cover_nord

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

black-3-cover-1Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: Action Comics #969 (DC Comics) – I am blown away by this comic, and how well Dan Jurgens is juggling everything. Doomsday and Superman fighting again. Mr. Oz. Super Lex. Creepy Clark Kent. The aliens that have come after Lex, and so much more. This is one of my favorite series and I have not been disappointed by a single issue. I am very excited to find out what the hell is going on with Clark, though I doubt I get that answer in this issue.

Wonder Woman #12 (DC Comics) – I have said it before. This is DC’s most consistent book, and it just gets better with each issue. Rucka is doing such a phenomenal job here, and I get impatient waiting for the next issue on both of the storylines (and they come out every two weeks!). This is a series everyone should be reading.

Reborn #3 (Image) – The first issue was amazing, and the second issue grew the world a little more and was still fantastic. Now that we’ve met our big bad, and Bonnie’s former cat who is now an evil General (because of a bad trip to the vet), our characters are preparing to go to war. Who else will appear from Bonnie’s past?

Inhumans vs. X-Men #1 (Marvel) – I am mostly excited about this because Death of X left a bad taste in my mouth (I did not mind the twist ending, but mostly the event was unnecessary). I have my doubts about this event, and I wonder if it is even necessary, but I do like Lemire and Soule, and I hope they give us something good here, and this isn’t just filler before the new spring books for the Inhumans and X-Men.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Suicide Squad #8 (DC Comics) – General Zod and the Black Vault have gotten everyone going crazy at Belle Reve except for Harley Quinn ( the Black Vault made her SANE) and Enchantress who have to fight through the asylum , including their Suicide Squad friends to save them.

The Lost Boys #3 (DC Comics) – Star has fled. The Frogg brothers and missing. The Blood Belles have gone rogue and are getting their rampage on! Where’s the popcorn?  This is already better than those crap sequels and it’s still getting good.

Daredevil #14 (Marvel) – Muse gives us a murderous reason to loathe performance art. Blind spot might be going down and Murdock is getting Punisher style angry. Daredevil is about to get dark and real like it was in the 90s!

Inhumans vs. X-Men #1 (Marvel) – Inhumans vs X-men it’s about to go down!!!  Do I really need to say more?

Black #3 (Black Mask Studios) – Kareem is concerned about Juncture and its leadership and Detective Waters is starting to piece together the clues about where Kareem has disappeared to.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #14 (Valiant) – It’s always a shame to see a series come to a close, but I’d much rather it end on a high note than peter off into mediocrity, and Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior has been on an incredible high note lately. I’m entirely comfortable in saying that this was my favorite ongoing series this year, and that’s a hell of a void it’s leaving.

Britannia #4 (Valiant) – A fresh new story comes to a close, and I’ve been loving the arc so far. And with the quality of the physical product, this is well worth your money.

Old Man Logan #15 (Marvel) – Despite a couple of minor missteps this has been a fantastic series. Now that we have Old Man Logan teaming up with the Howling Commandos and fighting vampires? Awesome.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Motor Girl #2 (Abstract Studios) – The first issue blew me away and it’s a series you absolutely need to get. Writer/artist Terry Moore does it again with this new seires featuring a woman who works in a junkyard and many or may not be seeing things like a talking gorilla and a UFO. A weirdly fun series.

Optimus Prime #1 (IDW Publishing) – The post-Revolution Hasbro connected universe kicks off and this series focuses on Optimus and his annexation of Earth as part of the Cybertonian council. It’s a hell of a concept and I’m intrigued to how it will all play out.

Transformers: Lost Light #1 (IDW Publishing) – Again I’m intrigued since this is part of the post-Revolution Hasbro connected universe. The Lost Light has been on its mission to find Cyberutopia for quite some time and I’m intrigued to see how/if this series shifts at all post event.

Rockstars #1 (Image Comics) – A new series by Joe Harris that involves rock and roll, conspiracies, demons, dark gods of rock… sign me up.

Black #3 (Black Mask Studios) – One of the most important comics on the shelves right now.

« Older Entries