Skybound/Image Comics 2017
Created & Written by Chris Pasetto & Christian Cantamessa
Illustrated by Lukas Ketner
Coloured by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Lettered by Clem Robins
So what is it about Greek Mythology that still fascinates us today? Is it because the stories of love, loss, madness and the trials and tribulations it’s heroes went through still resonates with our own lives today? With Mad Kings and Queens and those who rise up to oppose them freeing the people from a tyrannical rule it doesn’t sound that different today in many aspects. Also all we have from those times are vague pictures on walls and pottery with much speculation about the validity of how it’s represented. So there really is more leeway than most folks might realise to tell variations of these stories.
I will say that what Chris & Christian bring us here is pretty remarkable. It has the right tone and feeling of say the great stories the featured Herakles and the like. The do a very nice job in setting King Minos and mania and along with Lukas and Jean-Francois we see the realisation of that mania visually and it’s quite impactful. So right away we are drawn into this story in a very real and powerful way.
As the story continues I like seeing the introduction of the characters and then their characterisation. The introduction of whom I’m assuming is the story’s hero and his best friend from the city of Athens, which at this stage is nothing more than a principality or commonwealth to Crete. Prince Theseus doesn’t like being thought of as Minos’ bitch and he’s rip roaring mad because he wants Athens to be free. You really can’t blame him and it’s that time of year that Athens has to pay their tithe to Minos or suffer the consequences. Which would be that his son blessed by the gods is the Minotaur and he’d be set loose upon them.
I like the artwork here because there’s this duality to it. On the one hand it has this incredible creepy realism to the Arena and the Minotaurs world and by comparison Theseus and his life feels more classic comic book style. The way page layouts are used are showing angles, perspective and the utilisation of backgrounds really brings the reader into the story beautifully. Also I adore the way that we see the beauty and serenity of the world behind them which belies the horror behind it.
It’s already back to print for a second printing and I can totally see why. As far as first issues go this one has it all, it’s got the right premise, excellent execution and some killer dialogue/characterisation alongside some dynamic interior artwork. The way this story has been structured, the pacing and flow along with the plot development and revelations easily have made this one of the top reads out there right now.
There’s interpretation of source material going on here in a way that seems like it could have come out of a history book. This is superb storytelling.