Writer – Peter Milligan
Artist (pencils) – Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher – Valiant
Review by Jeremias de Leon
A spoiler free summary is as follow, Antonius Axia gets sent to rescue a Vestal Virgin who was kidnapped. When he does his mind is essentially broken by the events and the other Vestal Virgins heal his mind and through their rituals he learns much and becomes “the world’s first detective”. Any more than that I won’t say. This book simply must be read.
The writing in this is top notch. The story stays tense and the psychological repercussions on Axia keep you turning the pages. There’s also the fact that this story takes place during the time of Nero’s reign of Rome, which gives the story an extra coat of freshness to it.
The art is nicely detailed without going into what some would call the “uncanny valley”. The style of the art very nicely fits the aesthetic of ancient Rome especially when looking at the characters hairstyles. There’s also a grittiness to it that works for some of the gorier parts of the comic.
This comic is definitely 100 percent for mature audiences only. It’s not just because of random gory parts but also because this is very smartly written. It’s a tense thriller and goes into psychological horror and nightmares. It also has a cool setting with ancient Rome and Britain. This book is totally worth reading for those who want something that’s intelligent and intriguing, and don’t mind some blood. I give Britannia # 1 a 9.5 out of 10