Friday, February 2, 2018

Kill The Minotaur TP Review

Natural Born Killers

Written by Chris Pasetto, Christian Cantamessa
Art by Lukas Ketner
Colors by Jean Francois Beaulieu
Letters by Clem Robins
Published by Image Comics
Review by Andrew McAvoy

As a kid in school we used to study the Greeks and the Romans and it never felt like work. Okay, so you had to do a test on it but it did kinda feel like it was our lucky day when our lessons revolved around violent, crazy Emperors and crazy dudes like Socrates. Ah, Socrates, I wonder if he ever thought that 2,300 years after his life he'd be described as a crazy dude on an award-winning comics site. Anyway, the highlight of any class on the Greeks and Romans were their myths and legends, especially the Greeks mostly because the Romans just swiped all their best stories. One of the best is the story of the Minotaur: let's see how it translates into comic book form.

Oh yeah! This is one crazy ass, blood-soaked, funny as hell comic book. I read the whole TPB in one swift sitting. The set up is as follows. Athens lost the war to Crete. Now, they have to pay tribute to bat-shit crazy King Minos by sacrificing their best citizens to his weird, living and shape-shifting labyrinth designed by the inventor Daedalus. Imagine the Hunger Games tribute only reworked so that instead of the Hunger Games you get fed to a Minotaur. The opening scene of the book shows the Athenian citizens being ripped from their homes and rounded up by the Minoans.

Our book's hero Theseus is a spoiled prince of Athens who is dying to be made famous in song for his heroic exploits. He is gloriously vain and prissy, but he is quite useful in a fight. He is persuaded by Daedalus to come as part of the Athenian tribute party to put an end to the madness of King Minos. Thing is when they arrive that crazy old King is as suspicious as a fox and pretty soon Daedalus' head is being served up as the prized delicacy during the tribute's last meal prior to entering the labyrinth.

A couple of great little twists in this book. Firstly it is suggested that the Minotaur itself was an alien arrival who came in a Superman-style pod-ship landing on earth. This happens at about the same time as Minos loses his son and therefore the Minotaur-alien becomes a surrogate son of sorts. Secondly, King Minos's daughter Ariadne does more than just aid Theseus, she positively kicks some Minotaur butt. Finally, there is a really creative decision to make the labyrinth a living organism that both reflects Daedalus' personality and tests and trains the Minotaur to make it more deadly. Luckily Ariadne has been given a key to the maze by Daedalus and her and Theseus form a deadly duo in the book.

Bits and pieces

This was a really great book which manages to actually stay pretty true to the main story elements of the myth while adding so many fun little twists and post-modern updates. It is also quite comedic. Theseus is such a pompous ass at the start of the book, the Athenians are a bunch of untrustworthy swines, both Minoan and Athenian Kings and Queens are completely odious in the best possible way. Daedalus is fun while he lasts. Ketner's art is gloriously sinister (as well as detailed in its "overhead" depictions of the cities and the labyrinth). The Minotaur is depicted as an out of this world entity (because he is), and the Labyrinth and its dimensions continually exciting and challenging for our heroes. Special mention should be made of the madness that Minos' court has descended into, which works so well. This book is well worth both your time and money, and it looks so good it will stand up to repeated reading.


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