Age of Bronze: Betrayal, Part Two
The preliminaries are over, and the Trojan War actually begins in volume 3B of Shanower’s graphic novel series. The Achean fleet lands at Troy. The prophetess Kassandra interrupts the wedding of Hektor and Andromache with her message of doom. Achilles kills Kyknos. Pandarus promotes a romance between his niece Cressida and Prince Troilus, arranging for them to spend a night together only to learn that she is to be exchanged for an important prisoner. Troilus splits a piece of cloth and asks that she keep half to remind her to be true to him, which she swears to do. But when Troilus meets Diomedes on the battlefield and discovers that Cressida has given Diomedes her piece of the cloth, he believes she has been false.
The author includes an impressively extensive bibliography of sources, and a plot summary of the previous volumes. He also includes an afterword on how readers can contribute towards the modern-day archaeology of the Troy site. Since I had not read the other volumes and am not well-versed in Trojan history, I made extensive use of the genealogical charts and character list.
Shanower’s drawing is admirable, especially in capturing the subtleties of facial expressions. He is also skillful in the use of shading and crosshatching to enrich the drawings. I was surprised at how graphically black and white lines can depict the awful ways of dying in sword-and-spear combat.
Devotees of ancient history, sword-and-sandal film fans, and graphic novel lovers will all appreciate Shanower’s excellent series. I recommend starting at the beginning instead of with this volume, however.