By Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly & Jordie Bellaire
While we had originally thought Three was meant to be an ongoing series, it appears that this is the end. This was a bit disappointing as there is so much more that could’ve been done with this book! However, as a final issue, this was more than adequate. There was one aspect to the closing that left slight ambivalence about the wrap up though.
This series has been an amazing historical treatment of the ancient Spartan world. After last month though, the major conflict has built to the ending that now seemed inevitable. This issue is fully devoted to the final showdown and closing the series. One thing that must be said is that Kieron Gillen does an amazing job of drawing parallels to the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae with the last stand of the three Helot slaves in this book. Having previously taken refuge in a narrow ravine, the protagonists are now faced with an army of three hundred angry Spartan soldiers thirsty for revenge. Klaros holds the pass on his own and this entire sequence was epic and powerful. We also finally learn about this character’s true background, although it is as his companions had suspected all along. When Terpander takes charge of the pass, he too draws direct parallels to the battle of Thermopylae. This was a deep and moving moment that served as an excellent send off for one of the “three”. As with previous issues, Gillen employs some incredible dialogue throughout Three #5.The end of this mighty final conflict, however, felt anticlimactic. It was a somewhat unsatisfying finish for such terrific characters in such a big story. This was slightly atoned for with the final moments of Damar in Messene nine months later, which provides a nice symbolic proxy freedom for her companions as well.
Ryan Kelly and Jordie Bellaire are a super star team. The visuals in this final installment are extraordinary. The layouts are terrific and really enhance the overall flow of the book, particularly during the more action-oriented sequences. Kelly’s illustrations have a very high degree of realism and attention to detail, while simultaneously having a slightly classic feel which is, of course, always helped by the beloved Kirby dots! While not as varied as previous issues, Three #5 was a very cinematic read and each panel was epic in its own way. Everything looks equally authentic and powerful. Bellaire’s colors are really quite astonishing as well. They add so much depth to each image and really help bring the book to life. The colors are very deep and detailed without being unsuitably vibrant or bright; the overall grim tone of the story is maintained while still bringing a very lush appearance as a whole.
While there were some minor personal issues with some relatively minor aspects of this book, Three #5 was generally a terrific close. While it would be wonderful to see more from this creative team on this very title, they told a damn fine story and pulled it off well in every respect. This last issue had some particularly powerful moments and the parallels with the battle of Thermopylae provided a fantastic framework to end the story. Overall, this was another great book in a series that was far too short!