By Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly & Jordie Bellaire
Three has been an incredible tale of three slaves in ancient Sparta. However, issue #3 was possibly the best installment yet.
Kieron Gillen’s writing in this particular issue was incredibly intelligent. The way the mother of the Spartan “Trembler” speaks about her son, now a coward in the eyes of Sparta, and contrasts him to her horses was nothing short of brilliant. The fact that any ounce of reader sympathy can be evoked for this nasty specimen of humanity is a testament to Gillen’s skills as a wordsmith and storyteller. Being steeped in historical accuracy, this aspect of issue #3 served to once again bestow further knowledge of ancient Spartan society on the reader without the necessity for hefty exposition. The three escaped Helots are still on the run and their interactions are becoming more interesting; the mystery of Klaros’ true background has started to be investigated by his fellow escapees. The overall plot was moved forward in issue #3, but the character interactions of both Helots and Spartans was fantastic. There is a lot of insight into these ancient societies gleaned in Three #3 in a manner that retains a strict relevance to the story at hand. The action sequences were also great, as the Helots make their way past a group of Spartan guards through deception and vicious savagery.
The action sequences in particular looked phenomenal. Ryan Kelly’s illustrations in this series have been top-notch in every issue, but the depth and realism in this latest installment is a step above the rest. Everything from the characters to the environments and backgrounds look astonishingly vibrant and well-detailed. The facial expressions, the clothing, every aspect of the illustrations are absolutely perfect. The colors in this series, contributed by the master Jordie Bellaire, add an incredible amount to the depth and detail of the visuals. As with Kelly’s work, Bellaire’s colors appear to surpass previous issues. The overall realism of each panel is really enhanced by her magnificent tones and attention to detail, while the darker and moodier scenes are set in the perfect atmosphere with bleak tones and excellent lighting effects. While the illustrations and colors are very realistic, detailed, vibrant and deep, there’s also something about the visuals that lends a subtle sense of the ‘classic’ comic book appearance which is difficult to describe.
Three is a fantastic new series with both an exciting and engaging plot, and also an impressive degree of historical accuracy. This is a book that can appeal to fans of nearly any genre, and issue #3 has yet again set the bar that much higher.