(Image Comics, 2014)
Review by Jeremiah Kielman
Written by Kieron Gillen
Artwork by Ryan Kelly
Color Artwork by Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Issue four of Three finds our heroes still on the run from the forces of Sparta. Three hundred Spartans and trackers on the trail of three Helots. Seems fair, right? Fairness aside, they are coming. But they are not the only ones.
Nestos, the coward, has hired a tracker as well. Since two travel a hell of a lot quicker than three hundred can they find the Helots first. Nestos’ tracker convinces him it would be best to lead them into a trap rather than trying to chase them down and possibly losing some or all of them. So after some horse trading (no really) the tracker himself approaches the three posing as a friendly traveler. He tells them of a passage through a ravine that will bypass those searching for them and help get them out of Sparta alive.
You’ll need to read the story to find out what happens to our heroes.
One of the great things about this title is the novel approach to Spartan life it gives. We all know about the Three Hundred at Thermopylae. In fact there may be a comic about it. I don’t claim to know all about Sparta but I do read a lot and especially in my youth the Greeks were something I read a lot about. In all that reading I never read more than a few passing words about any of the slaves.
So to get a whole series about them is great. You learn all kinds of cool things, even if all of them are not cold hard facts the perspective they come from forces you too to look at things from a perspective you may not have acknowledged before. The slaves out number the masters ten to one for instance. Is it true? I don’t know. Sounds likely. They were a warrior society who took slaves from conquered peoples. Damn good warriors too. So a bunch of slaves sounds right.
Think about that for a minute. This isn’t the slavery of America either. A slave in the south couldn’t wash off the black and pass for white. I think the Spartans lived in fear of their own slaves. In Sparta you not only have slaves you have slaves who may have once been warriors themselves before defeat at the hands of their new masters and could simply put on the masters clothes and look the part. Add to this the brutal treatment the Spartans felt necessary to cow these slaves and you would be right to fear an uprising. Never thought about it before.
I also never thought about the different levels of slavery which have existed all over the world in different times and places. Never considered that those levels could have existed side by side each other in the same society. Where one group of people, while still a slave, has rights and is treated well, given privileges and status. Yet another can be killed for simply crossing the path of a citizen. Crazy.
Is any of the stuff presented in these issues true. Sure. In a sense. They make you think in ways you may have never thought before. Give you thoughts you never thought you’d think. So to me they are true.
Are they empirically true? I don’t know. I’m sure some is but that is not important in a comic book. The point is to have fun. And if your real lucky, see the world in a new way. If only for a moment.