The Roman Empire has always been my favourite subject when I was a History student. From the early days of the Republic to the later days of the Empire, it had everything. From conquest to epic wars and from political intrigue to dominance for centuries. I recently discovered there was a comic book series about this time. You guessed it: Britannia. So obviously I was interested; especially when they threw in some mystery and horror.
Published by Valiant comics, Britannia is one of many great titles of this alternative publisher. Valiant was founded in 1989 by former Marvel comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. It recently has been through a Renaissance, just like Image Comics, with fresh content and new takes on old heroes of theirs. Brittania is one of their shining examples of something different. Industry veteran Peter Milligan is the creator of this Brittania. It’s a four issue limited series.
Something’s amiss in the far reaches of the Roman Empire. More specifically in the unruly land of Britannia. Rumours of supernatural occurences and monsters worry Emperor Nero. Britannia takes place in 60 A.D. The Vestal Virgins and Nero call upon Antonius Axia, a veteran of the Roman Legions. He must uncover what is happening. Antonius Axia is the first Detective or ashe is called The Detectioner. When he arrives in Britannia he uncovers a mystery with horrorific proportions.
I loved this comic, from the setting to the tone. The creators did good research for the background and formed a believable time period. The art is detailed and sometimes bloody and gory. This is not for the faint of heart. But just like with Nailbiter: if you like mystery and horror, this is a great title. Plus, this is a stand alone story. So you don’t have to go all out to read everything by Valiant. There is a sequel, which I haven’t read yet, but it’s not necessary.
Antionus Axia is a great character. The writers gave him a lot of backstory for a four issue run.
If you love history and supernatural things, then this a great book to read!