How about a Greek history lesson this week on comic book release Wednesday?
The battle of the “300” is the account of the historical Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian Wars. This was the battle where King Leonidas famously led three hundred Spartan warriors against an invading army of 300,000 Persian soldiers, who were led by Xerxes, their God-King.
It’s a distinctly inexpressive visual isn’t it? One that legendary comic book writer/illustrator Frank Miller couldn’t resist. He created 300, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1998. it was an overly-stylized, overly-fictionalized (and highly acclaimed) graphic novel that birthed the career of director Zack Snyder. Snyder, you’ll remember, kept true to those visuals in his cinematic adaptation in 2006.
After the death of just about everybody in that tale, fans clamoured for more. And Miller wanted to make more.
And who wouldn’t want to see more history, more blood, and more of the antagonist – the God-King – himself?
Today, the sequel to 300 drops. And although the title is a mouthful, it’s appropriately epic in scope: Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and The Rise of Alexander #1.
But we’ll just affectionately call it Xerxes #1!
Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and The Rise of Alexander actually began publication in the pages of the monthly Dark Horse Presents anthology comic book series a few years ago. It was a bit of a teaser for what was to come – an honest-to-goodness sequel to the acclaimed 300 series.
The sequel lives up to the Frank Miller reputation of striking black and white, over-the-top visuals, full of gnashing-of-teeth, manly-man violence.
This is the story of Xerxes, anxious to pick up the pieces of his defeated father, and attempt something never before conceived: an empire, global in scope, where every living being would bend their knee to the God-King! This is a son’s inevitable rise to power – but their is opposition in the Greek army. A man whose vision is to conquer and make history! Set directly in the sights of Xerxes, is the brilliant military strategist, the King conqueror, the famous, Alexander the Great!
Interestingly, Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and The Rise of Alexander was already made into a Scott Snyder-produced film with the 2014 release of 300: Rise of an Empire. With a budget of $110 million, it went on to gross over $337 million, proving that there was an audience for over-stylized, historically inaccurate, highly entertaining, maiming and mayhem.
The art is absolutely vintage twenty-first century Frank Miller renderings. That means it’s overly stylized, over the top and screams to be viewed. I mean, men get cleaved in two here. Cleaved in two! Straight down the middle – half of one Persian soldier on your left and his other half on your right!
It’s not realism that Miller is going for here. It’s a reader’s senses. And, even more than you’d expect, he blows them away! Outside the confines of a mainstream publisher and the visual trappings inherent in a Batman story made for the mass market, Xerxes #1 is full of barred teeth, blood, violence, posing, loincloths and the smell of oiled-up sex.
The first chapter of a five-part monthly series, make the Wednesday run to your local comic book shop and pick up Xerxes #1 today!
You can catch a preview of the highly stylized, highly entertaining Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1 right here!