The Greek retinue at Marathon returns to Athens to warn them of the coming Persian horde. The general is distraught and ready to let Athens execute him, but Themistokles has a wild plan. He will gather all the women and slaves to bolster their ranks, and he will shine their armor and shields to give the appearance of a grand army defending Athens.
Xerxes #2 promises a focus on the titular character in the final pages, but most of this comic is still set on Themistokles and the Athenians. This is not inherently a problem, and Themistokles does come into his own as a character somewhat in this installment.
This doesn’t make up for how archetypal the characters and how grand and silly the dialogue is throughout much of the book. Themistokles comes off as cunning and off-beat in this legion of soldier boys, but the rest of the characters are so dull. The choppy dialogue comes to a head when (spoiler?) Darius dies, and Xerxes immediately makes a declaration of vengeance like a subpar Shakespearean character.
Lord Jack Kirby knows that I’m going to rustle some jimmies with this one, but Frank Miller’s art is not good in this comic. It often resembles Medieval paintings (proper Medieval, not Renaissance) that lack depth and often have odd proportions compared to one another. Now and then you get a good spread like the owl over Athens and the Greek fire raining on the Persians, but those are the outliers instead of the norm. Much of it is unappealing. Alex Sinclair’s color art is spotty too, coming to life in environments outside Athens. However, the Athens scenes look drab in terms of color.
Xerxes #2 does little to win me over to this comic. It seems to be focusing on its namesake with the finale, but the scenes before are filled with Themistokles bouncing dialogue off uninteresting characters brought to life in an unappealing art style. I still can’t recommend this book. Give it a pass.
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