Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Robert Gill
Britannia has always felt like an anomaly in the Valiant Universe. While there are multiple Valiant heroes that are scattered throughout different times, Britannia feels the most isolated. Fortunately, Britannia has not been an anomaly as far as quality goes for Valiant, and it looks Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome will continue the series’ successful run.
Lost Eagles of Rome is the third Britannia story and is once again written by Peter Milligan. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the story takes place in ancient Rome during Nero’s reign. Antonius Axia was a Legionnaire who was tasked by The Vestal Virgins (Priestesses) to rescue a kidnapped Vestal. Following an encounter with Orkus, a demon, Antonius saved the vestal but had his mind broken. This led to the vestals giving him access to The Codex, a text that allows him to understand human psychology in a way that no one has been able to do before. With his new knowledge, Antonius becomes the world’s first detective.
Peter Milligan has done an excellent job with this series so far, crafting an intriguing look at Rome while also developing some wonderful characters. Eagles of Rome #1 continues this tradition, setting up for a large mystery involving the slaughter of an elite Roman army. This first issue is heavy on the dialogue, with very little action compared to previous issues of the series. Instead, the bloody battles take a backseat to the development of the mystery, which can admittedly be a bit dull this early on. By the end of the issue, I was left with the feeling that nothing truly happened here. Of course, this pacing could absolutely change with future issues, and all of this could merely be an intricate set-up.
Milligan’s dialogue, both internal and external, is as natural as one can ask for. The world-building is also exceptional as always, with an interesting, mythical look at the ancient civilization. New readers may find themselves turned off by the lack of proper introductions for the various supporting characters, but Milligan doesn’t leave new readers completely in the dark. There is just enough information for the reader to progress through the issue naturally, it’s just not the most friendly jumping on point, despite what the solicit wants you to believe.
This time, Milligan is accompanied by artist Robert Gill, a well-known artist in Valiant works. Gill has a knack for drawing ancient-looking characters, with bold lines that accent the barbaric nature of the civilization. The book looks great on some pages but suffers from a few inconsistencies. Some facial expressions don’t look natural, and Gill does quite a few close-ups on most characters, making this more noticeable. Fortunately, every character looks great when more than the bust is shown in a panel. In fact, with Jose Villarrubia’s colors, the book looks gorgeous throughout.
Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 looks like it will be another fine chapter for Antonius. The series’ excellent dialogue and setting continue to shine, and the mystery is interesting enough. Unfortunately, this debut feels a bit bogged down by exposition.
Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1
Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 looks like it will be another fine chapter for Antonius.