By Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly & Jordie Bellaire
The creative team behind Three have done it again this month. This is such a fantastic series in every respect and it just gets better with each issue. The latest installment saw some huge story developments that were definitely not expected this early in the game!
Kieron Gillen has taken a lot of care to make this book authentic and accurate while still being enjoyable in the context of the specific medium. To say he pulls it off with masterful precision would be an understatement. The story is immensely interesting and engaging with thrills, action, emotion, mystery, and all the other ingredients that contribute to making a top notch series. However, it also feels sincere and authentic in every way which actually serves to deepen the impact each scene is capable of. Each issue of this series has really pushed the story forward and this is no different for issue #4. Aside from some really big story developments, which came as quite a surprise, there are also additional aspects of Spartan life and the contemporary social system which are elucidated through excellently scripted interactions between Spartans, Helots, and Skirites. It is immensely satisfying to witness the social dynamics between different classes of individuals and the complex social system which governs these interactions. Again, this aspect is on full display in issue #4 to wonderful effect which doesn’t feel forced in any way. If anything, these highly interesting and perfectly written social dynamics serve to deepen the overall plot and character development.
As with the story itself, the artwork provided by Ryan Kelly and Jordie Bellaire has quickly become a personal favorite. Much like the writing, the visuals really help provide a further sense of realism and authenticity to this book. Kelly’s art in Three #4 was incredibly crisp and detailed with plenty of attention given to each and every panel. The characters and facial expressions, the environments, and the action are all very well-detailed, and each panel feels ‘full’ without being cluttered. Some of the visuals are really intensified by the excellent effects used, such as the flashes of reds and oranges which engulf the background during violent action, and the faded black and white panels overlain with blood spatter which are used to convey flashbacks. Bellaire’s colors are similarly crisp and vibrant and really help bring a lot of life and further realism to this book. There is also a subtle ‘classic’ comic book sensibility which creeps into the artwork, largely accomplished through the minimal use of ‘Kirby dots’ to enhance the detail in practically every panel.
Along with a small handful of other titles from Image Comics, Three is among those rare comic books that typically feel perfect in every way. Issue #4 demonstrates how a comic book should be paced and organized, and the quality of writing, illustrations, and colors is above and beyond what is typically expected. This is a deeply intelligent series that doesn’t rely on heavy exposition or an overabundance of overt explanation. Instead, the story pulls the reader in and shows them how these characters might have actually interacted with one another. Three #4 accomplishes the lofty feat of authenticity and emotional impact in one fell swoop and the story developments were fantastic. This is a series to keep an eye on, and if you’re not already reading it, get on that!