Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Crowles
Review by Joey Braccino
With Three #1, Kieron Gillen hopes to explore the “real” history of Sparta. Gone are the chiseled tropes we now associate with the Spartans due to Miller and Snyder’s glossy presentations in 300, and instead we are treated to a narrative emphasizing social stratification and an authentic brand brutality free of Romanticism.
Three #1 is set 100 years after the legendary Battle of Thermopylae (the setting of 300) and features a group of Helots, the little-mentioned slaves of the Spartan ruling class. Gillen opens his narrative with a terrifying, hyper-violent sequence focusing on a ritual in which burgeoning Spartan warriors slaughter Helots in the fields in order to ensure that “the utopia endures.” It sets up the core issue of class that runs through the book. What follows is an exquisite debut that focuses on introducing the thematic conflict and feel of the story rather than running down character profiles. Hell, even the “Author’s Note” at the end of the issue provides a fascinating look into the real history that informs Three and Gillen’s motivations in writing the book.
The aesthetics of Three #1 are top-notch as well. Ryan Kelly’s stylized naturalism captures the rural, ancient setting. Jordie Bellaire’s diverse color palette astounds me each time I read a book with her name on it. This time, her mix of blood reds and pastel sepias results in a vibrant visual experience. Clayton Crowles lettering blends modern flair with the expected engraved font of the Ancient Greek setting. Overall, Three is a artistic treat.
Check it out! Image has yet another unique, engaging comic on its hands with Kieron Gillen’s Three #1. From its engaging visual aesthetic to its authentic storytelling, Three’s debut issue is a must-read cover-to-cover.