Rating: 4/5 – Fascinating look at the Helots, slaves to Sparta.
If you’re like me, with a knowledge of Greek history mostly based on popularized myths, Hollywood movies, and Frank Miller’s 300, then Three by Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly will be as much a fascinating eye-opener for you as it was for me.
My previous conception of the Spartans was as noble warriors marching off to defend the pass at Thermopylae, I had no idea about the Krypteia, where annually Spartan youths would stalk the Helot villages (Helots being the slaves who supported the Spartan warrior class), spying on the slaves to root-out potential sedition. Troublesome helots could be summarily executed. Only Spartans who showed this willingness to kill for the state at a young age were considered “leadership material” and would be able to achieve high rank & status in the Spartan society and army.
This comic focuses on the Helots and their interaction with the Spartans. It’s also fascinating to read the text piece at the back where Gillen discusses the research he had to do for this series. Of particular note was his pointing out that we see (in films/comics like 300) the noble Spartans marching along with a spear in one hand and a shield in another. Only Spartans never carried their shields when not in battle. They had a Helot slave to carry it for them.
Very enlightening comic, who says you can’t get some historical learning mixed in with your entertainment? This series is highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – firstname.lastname@example.org
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