Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Last Battle

Written by Tito Faraci
Art by Dan Brereton

I think someone looking to do a Master's thesis in comic book history could easily examine portrayals of Ancient Rome in comic books over the last fifty years or so.  It's a setting that tends to attract a number of writers and artists, and can provide us with a myriad of interesting stories or cool visuals.

The Last Battle, a collaboration between the Italian comics writer Tito Faraci and the American artist Dan Brereton is interesting, without being particularly spectacular.  It's a story about Gaiu Rodius, a Roman general who helped educate Julius Caesar in the way of war, at the end of his career.  Rodius has a reputation for being a skilled warriro, but he's lost interest in fighting.  Caesar sends him on one final mission - to track down Cammius, a Gaul who Rodius raised, who is now threatening to attack Rome.

This story picks up on the trappings of a fantasy quest, as Rodius gathers a team of four other warriors, and heads out to find the man he thinks of as his son.  In typical Roman comics fashion, there is betrayal and deceit, as well as some bloody battle scenes.

This is a good enough story, which moves quickly through its fifty-odd pages.  I've never been a huge fan of Brereton's work; I usually find it too static and baroque, but I think he was an interesting choice for a story that is not filled with goth-y monsters.  He has skill at capturing the Roman profile.  

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