Monday, January 30, 2012

THIS! IS! 300!

I think this really tells you what the story is about.
Thinking back on it, any level of forethought would have seen this as my 300th review. Instead forethought sees this as an easy review to do before a vacation. In any case, Frank Miller's retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae is very interesting, and is a very clear guideline for the movie adaptation (no, not Charlton Heston's 300 Spartans). Amazon seem to want about $20 for it, but the wise shopper watches for a cheaper price (I got mine during the Black Friday sales at Things From another World).

On the topic of the content, it's wonderful. Sure, historical accuracy isn't a high point, but the story is a ripper. I'm not sure how it would have worked as a comic series (and I'm sure it would be committing many of the sins I fell modern comics revolve around), but as a collected edition, in A3 size paper, it looks great, and reads well. The art, yes, is in Frank Miller's style. If that isn't your taste, it might not be as visually pleasing, but it's still clear what is happening, and thus easy to read.
The story is, in essence, the track of King Leonidas as the destined leader of the Spartans, in a war he has been told he cannot win against the Persians. Yes, with nudity and gratuitous violence. Yes, with a hint of love, and a dash of tragedy, but that's god writing, isn't it? Overdo nothing your audience doesn't crave, go heavy on what it wants, and leave something to think about.
In all honesty there's two flaws with this book: it's awkward to put on the shelf with the rest of your comics, and it's more or less been made redundant by the release of the film. If not for the film, I'd honestly consider this a gateway book for a lot of people. It has appeal for young males. It has appeal for people interested in historical things (even if it does work them up with inaccuracies). It probably won't appeal to women, though it has (obviously now) got an action movie appeal about it. All of that is useless, when someone can watch it in awesome Blu Ray quality in their home theatre.

So how do I rate this. I clearly love it. I did read it once before seeing the movie, so maybe that clouds my judgement. It is well written, and well illustrated. It's also a complete story, with no prior knowledge required, or (until Xerxes is released) any need to read anything else, so there's no additional investment required. But I still can't get past that whole idea that the movie almost made it irrelevant to anyone not already reading comics.

Bottom line: this is a must for comic fans. If loved the movie, you'll love this. For people not already reading comics, and that haven't seen the movie (and can be convinced to read it first), it's a good first step. For anyone else, I can't see the point or the value. You know the story, you don't want to read comics, so you pass. And it's your loss.

Next Time I'll probably have some very glib, very flippant things to say about this. Though that'd be about all to say, really...
This mark, it is too easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment