Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
Hardcover: 88 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse; 1098 edition (December 15, 1999)
5/5 stars

Wow! This graphic novel is a simply stunningly rendered telling of the Battle of Thermopylae. Is it "historical"? Not entirely, no, but then it never makes that claim. The Battle of Thermopylae has become as much legend as history and that is the treatment given in 300: legendary.

300 follows the Spartan King Leonidas as he takes his 300 warriors to stop the Persians. Leonidas is shown as a true Spartan hero and his wit and arrogance toward Xerxes along with his unflinching bravery make the reader (this one anyway) want to take up shield and spear and stand along side of him.

The art is so fitting for the story. Heavy lines, silhouettes, and much red spattering create the atmosphere needed for each frame. The eye is drawn forward--no pulled forward--and eagerly follows. The art tells as much of the story as does the words.

For those like me that had the misfortune to see the movie version first, never fear: the crappy wife subplot is NOT in this book! Huzzah! Nor is the blatantly off-putting, totally not Spartan image of the child Leonidas crying as he was being taken away from his mother for his trials.

Breathtaking and rousing from beginning to end, 300 is a nearly hero-worshipful retelling of a legend, not a historical thesis--and there is nothing wrong with that! Read it, enjoy it and find it haunting the memory for days to come.

~~Read for the Graphic Novels Challenge~~

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