Britannia—Book 1

britannia book 1 cover review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Interesting story and concept

Feels a bit underdeveloped

Comic Info

Comic Name: Britannia

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Writer: Peter Milligan

Artist: Juan Jose Ryp

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2016

britannia #1 cover variant

Britannia #1 Variant

Reprints Britannia #1-4 (September 2016-December 2016).  Antonius Axia finds himself in a unique position.  Trained by the Vestal Virgins, Antonius has become a detective…chosen to seek out criminals and determine who committed heinous actions.  As a threat to Nero, Antonius is selected to travel to the far-reaches of the Empire to Britannia where an evil seems to have taken hold.  With his slave Bran, Antonius is about to discover that horror is eternal…there is something powerful and dark in Britannia, and all of Antonius training and teaching might not be enough to stop what is coming.

Written by Peter Milligan, Britannia—Book 1 is a Valiant Comics action-adventure horror comic book collection.  Featuring art by Juan Jose Ryp, the issues in this volume were also collected as part of the Britannia—Deluxe Edition.

Stepping into any Valiant Comic is a strange adventure.  Growing up largely on Marvel and some DC, you go in knowing what to expect, but with many of the third party comic book publishers, there are no rules.  Britannia has an interesting concept and style, but overall, it does need some finessing.

britannia #3 cover

Britannia #3

The story is like many epic types of stories with strangers in a strange land.  Movies like Ravenous, The Keep, and The 13th Warrior all have a similar set-up which resemble the old texts of things like Beowulf…with explorers and the outsiders coming into a world they don’t understand or belong in.  Britannia has this layered with political espionage and the likes of something like HBO’s Rome blended into the mix.

The problem is that there is a lot of territory to cover.  I don’t feel that you have a real handle on events occurring and that some things are skipped over rather quickly (like the travel from Italy to England in a time where travel wasn’t like hopping on a plane or a boat).  This is also mixed with the whole “wyrd” aspect of the mystics working with Antonius, and it feels like the story is slightly shortchanged.   You also have the relationship between Antonius and his slave Bran which needs to be expanded.

Fortunately, Britannia is the first storyline in a multi-series story.  I hope that some of the issues raised in this collection are resolved in the future volumes.  It is a unique and different story, and I wish the aspects of the “Roman detective” were amplified a bit (it is set-up as a bit of a Sherlock Holmes and Watson).  I look forward to seeing where the story might go.  Britannia—Book 1 is followed by Britannia—Book 2:  We Who Are About to Die.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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