Thursday, December 13, 2012

Age of Bronze #32

by Eric Shanower

Among some of the other recent signs that indicate that the world may indeed be ending on December 21st, we have to include the sudden appearance of a new issue of Age of Bronze, the overwhelmingly ambitious and excellent comic by Eric Shanower that tells the story of the Trojan War.  The last issue of this series came out almost exactly two years ago - I had no idea that it had been that long, and was rather surprised by how easily and quickly I was able to get back into the story.

Shanower has slowly and methodically worked his way to the point where the Achaeans, under King Agamemnon, have laid siege to the city of Troy, and have been camped a little ways outside its walls for quite a while now.  In this arc, Betrayal, Shanower has shifted much of the focus of the story to the lovers Cressida and Troilus.  In this issue, as part of a prisoner exchange and temporary truce, Cressida is returned to the custody of her father, Kalchas, among the Achaeans, causing her to leave her lover, Troilus, son of King Priam, in Troy.

Cressida is devastated by this, and finds things even worse when the Achaean kings begin pawing at her.  Scheming Kalchas, meanwhile, tries to find ways to use his daughter to improve his own lowly station, while poor Troilus wallows in his misery.

Not a lot of import happens in this issue; it's a classic 'midway through an arc' kind of book, but it does remind me why I've always loved this title so much.  Shanower's art is fantastic, as he continues to make it easy to differentiate between characters in a cast of almost a hundred.

Another thing that surprised me about this issue is how well-trained I've been by decades of reading serialized stories, to be able to pick up the threads of a plot-line after a gap of two years.  I was shocked to find out it's been so long since the last issue; if asked, I would have guessed only a year.

I can understand why Age of Bronze would be a tough sell, due to its extreme slowness of publication, but I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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