Review – Britannia #4 (of 4) (Valiant)

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Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan José Ryp
Release Date: 14th February, 2016

[Warning – Contains Spoilers]

With Britannia issue four, all questions are answered. In fact, it’s probably one of the tidiest finishes I’ve read in a while. Writer Peter Milligan has managed to keep the pace of the story going right through to the final pages here without missing a beat. Not only has that, but our Roman-era supernatural detective story had a thoroughly satisfactory conclusion.

Fans of the series will be happy with how the overall plot takes shape as all the players are revealed here, for good or ill. The conclusion of Antonius’ crucible is deftly handled. Does he die, or does he survive but lose his mind as the Vestal Virgins contrived? The answer is yes, and no of course! This was the one surprise I took from issue four, in my mind the story had one conclusion I was pretty positive of. It turns out Mr Milligan played me, but it’s a fitting end so I’m not going to complain.

The art continues in fine form with lavishly detailed work by Juan José Ryp. A lot of what I enjoy about Britannia comes from his art. They say the devil is in the details and that is especially true in Britannia. The style Juan employs in this title emphasises well the rural location and the spirit of the Wyrd. This matched with the more bland/neutral palette used by colour artist Jordie Bellaire gives life to the script. The art team on Britannia have been an excellent fit for the feature.

Britannia (as a stand-alone story) has been excellent. Taking the detective archetype and setting it in the past has been an intriguing exercise. Yet, the draw for me was the idea of The Wyrd. Female/Earth magic is not something that a lot of comics use, with one exception: Valiant, of course, have the Geomancer. Still, I think they may have found something here that they can develop into something a little bit different. I have a hunch there is more to Britannia than they are telling us. The conclusion, for one, does leave the door open for more chapters set in this time. Plus, is it me or does the Vestal Virgin Priestess Rubia look exactly like the Druid Priestess Bodmall? Perhaps the biggest hint is that this week Valiant’s CEO tweeted photos of Roman/Gladiator armour with the phrase underneath reading: ‘upcoming project.’ All that aside, whether it comes to something or nothing, Britannia has been an excellent four part distraction. I want more.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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13043453_10154167818863408_9180033184388957427_nThe writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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