Britannia #3 Review/Rumination - The Greatest Detective You've Never Heard Of...
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
• Publisher (Valiant)
Synopsis - Heavy Spoilers
Britannia #3 opens up immediately following the events of last issue with Antonius battling Catila, the Roman Legionary. They go back and forth a bit before Antonius dodges a swing and retaliates decapitating the giant.
As the fight is going on the Wyrding woman, Bodmall casts a spell to find Antonius.
The scene transitions back to Antonius as he contemplates his options in dealing with Catila's body. If the soldier is discovered Antonius would be executed. To avoid this situation Antonius dismembers the body so that it resembles the other bodies found in Britannia. This tactic would make it look like it had also been ravaged by the monsters in the area.
While in the middle of the task Antonius is visited by the visage of the monster from the last issue, Orkus. Orkus takes control of this mind and forces him to relive the memories of his wife's death during childbirth.
The demon taunts Antonius with the initial hatred for his son and tells him that he will feed on his emotions and force him to kill himself. Bodmall arrives and casts a spell to dispel the monster. With the threat gone they leave.
Later, the Roman Soldiers discover Catila's remains and come to the conclusion that the gods are punishing them for allowing Antonius to desecrate their bodies during his investigation. Perfect Gabinius, the leader of soldiers says that he will question Antonius in the morning and declares that the detective's time in Britannia is over.
As Antonius and Bodmall travel together she explains that in order for the people to defend themselves against the Romans she summoned the demon. She did this at the behest of her man Eryn, but they were unable to control it. Bodmall mentions that Eryn does not make requests easily, implying violence, but when Antonius offers protection she disappears into the woods.
The next Day Antonius begins looking for Eryn. He questions some of the locals and is given directions but told to stay away because the home is cursed.
Upon arrival, Antonius discovers the door unlocked and finds a goblet filled with a red wine He makes the observation that the wine is better than what is typically given to the soldiers. Antonius moves to take a drink but the goblet begins to melt in his hands and then shatters on the floor. As this happens Eryn makes an appearance.
Eryn confirms that the monster was conjured to protect his people but the darkness of the Romans gave it strength. The old man calls Antonius a coward revealing he knows of the detective's son and that he hides his identity as the boy's father.
The taunts infuriate Antonius and as the detective is about to attack the old man his arm is transformed into wood. He flees the home and Eryn calls out to him telling the detective to keep his eyes off of his woman.
Later Eryn confronts Bodmall and accuses her of working to undermine his relationship with the imperials. He tells her to go to Antonius. She resists and he begins torturing her into submission.
The next day Antonius meets with Perfect Gabinius. Before Gabinius can begin his interrogation Antonius begins questioning him about the integrity of his men. This makes the Perfect uneasy and he tells Gabinius that he has two days to complete his investigation.
Later that evening Antonius contemplates the case but fears he is running out of time. Bodmall bursts into the room. She tells him that she needed to get away from Eryn and the demons. Antonius offers to help and is quickly seduced.
During their sexual encounter, Antonius gets a vision of his dead wife which gives him pause. Bodmall puts him at ease but as he begins to relax she transforms into a monster and reveals that she has been sent by Eryn.
Britannia #3 is a fantastic read. The story picks up the pace from the last issue and eliminates the parts of the story that were lacking. Particularly the machinations occurring in Rome.
Antonius's ability as a detective has also been dialed back to a more believable level. In the last issue, he seemed to pull solutions out of his ass. In this comic the solutions and observations he makes seem real and I didn't have roll my eyes or lose immersion in the story.
The story is a perfect blend of mystery, action, and also intrigue. The comic also provides answers which is also is lacking in many stories in recent years. Too many stories rely on the "Mystery Box" approach in storytelling where the mystery keeps growing and significant answers are never provided. (Cloverfield, The Last Jedi).
The art is gorgeous and manages to impress even though the Britannia itself is a drab locale. The scenes are still varied and the pencils and colors make every page detailed and interesting to look at. I have no gripes with this comic. It came together beautifully and ended on a great cliffhanger. Can't wait for the conclusion.