Saturday, April 6, 2013


Written by Boaz Yakin
Art by Joe Infurnari

Ancient Greece has had a pretty impressive, if limited, run in modern-day comics.  I'm not talking about Wonder Woman or Eddie Campbell's Bacchus here, but more such historically-influenced classics as the (slowly) ongoing Age of Bronze, and Frank Miller's 300.  I've always been a little surprised that there aren't more books set during the beginnings of democracy, seeing as there is such a wealth of great stories from that period.

With Marathon, writer Boaz Yakin and artist Joe Infurnari set out to tell the story of the Persian invasion of Athens in 490 CE.  As the Persian forces landed on the shores of Marathon, a young soldier named Eucles was sent to bring word to Sparta, a dangerous journey undertaken on foot.  He ran back with the response, helped battle the Persians at Marathon, and then had to run to Athens to deliver another message; it is from his deeds that the marathon was born.

Not knowing a whole lot about Greek history, I can't speak to the accuracy of the historical content of this book, but I can say that it's a well written story.  It's established at the beginning that Eucles, the son of slaves, is much quicker on his feet than any other boy in Athens, but by being so, he brings about the displeasure of Hippias, the dictator who controls the city.  Later, Eucles helps the Spartans in deposing him, although Hippias later returns with the armies of Darius of Persia.  Yakin develops the personal animosity between Eucles and Hippias's son, Philon, to give the book an added sense of drama.

Joe Infurnari's art is left pretty rough throughout most of the book, which sometimes makes identifying characters difficult, but it also avoids the demands of rigorous historical accuracy which could cripple any period book not drawn by Eric Shanower.  His scratchy lines work well at adding to the sense of urgency that permeates Eucles's story.

In all, I enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to seeing other comics creators return to Ancient Greece.

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