Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 Review

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Sidetracked from Germany to Egypt, has Antonius found the missing Roman Eagles? And can he and Achillia get out of Egypt with their lives? Let’s find out in Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 from Valiant Entertainment.

Britannia: The Lost Eagles of Rome #4BRITANNIA: LOST EAGLES OF ROME #4

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Robert Gill
Colorist: José Villarrubia
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 31, 2018

Previously in Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome: Antonius Axia, on a hunch, headed to Egypt to investigate the disappearance of three Roman Eagles. General Verres and his scout Ignatius, both involved when the Eagles were lost, live in Alexandria now, but don’t want to talk about the battle. Even more strangely, they’re associating with an Egyptian who claims to be the reincarnation of Ramesses Twelve. After running into dead ends everywhere, Antonius and Achillia, his partner on this mission, go to Ramesses’ villa, where they are attacked by insects and break out into boils. Is it really a plague?

NEATLY TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 begins with a brief recap, but this time shows us Verres and Ignatius holding the Eagles in the midst of the fallen Roman army. I like this because not only is it a bridge for anyone who only happens upon this issue, but because it shows what Antonius has figured out so far. Immediately after this, we are back in the villa where Antonius and Achillia are covered in boils. Achillia is convinced they are caused by magic; Antonius is a skeptic who no longer believes in such things. The two of them, suffering, smothering, desperate, argue about why they are even there when the boils suddenly subside. Achillia thinks that, too, must be magic. But, she continues, why does he think the Eagles are even there?

Because Romans are also superstitious, and to many of them, the Eagles represent Rome’s power. They go further, opening another door, and indeed the Eagles are there. Impulsively, Achillia kisses Antonius – their success means her freedom from gladiatorial slavery, after all.

But it is Nero who made that promise. And if he were no longer Emperor… However, he still is, but he wants to lie low, demanding that the Vestals allow him to hide among them in disguise. Rubria refuses him, and he viciously informs her that he expects Antonius to be dead by now. However, the assassins he sent have not fared so well – one of them is dead. Verres is not worried – he has sent soldiers to Ramesses’s house in anticipation, much to Ramesses’ distress.

As Antonius and Achillia wrap up the Eagles, a statue of the Pharaoh starts speaking to them! Achillia attacks, only to find that it is indeed a statue. But she notices the grill behind it which would carry a voice through. With nothing supernatural to worry about, they make their way out, although Achillia is fully aware that, being a woman, she still may not get any credit for her work. This is a nod to the reality of the time which still echoes with us today. They exit the house and find Roman forces waiting for them. Antonius brashly reveals the lost Eagles. The soldiers pause, but only momentarily as he explains. Then the fighting begins, but the soldiers split – some of them believed Antonius. Their tribunis flees, leading Antonius to Verres.

In the best tradition of mysteries, Antonius confronts him. The General desperately hurls a spear at him, only to kill the Pharaoh instead. Verres refuses to be arrested by a plebian, and Antonius kills him. It is all over except for the journey back to Rome – these things were not fast in that age. Nero is overjoyed, and magnanimously spares the prisoners due for crucifixion that day. Antonius insists on manumission for Achillia, and this is granted. Antonius now offers her the chance to spend some time with him, but her freedom is hard won, and she refuses him, wanting to be on her own for a while first.

Antonius returns home, to his young son. There, Rubria confronts him furiously. In her mind, he was not supposed to find the Eagles and thus make Nero look good. The secret message she gave him for Rebecca was supposed to result in her giving them a potion to make them wander, lost, for days. Instead, Rebecca must have given them something which protected them from the locusts. He was successful with his mission, but at what price? Rome continues to be led by a dangerous and insane ruler whom she believes will ultimately destroy Rome itself.

BRINGING THE PAST TO LIFE

The art of Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 is strikingly detailed. It also has a way of depicting horror and brutality in a way that is not over the top gory, yet is still horrifying. The opening flashback depicts the rout in the Tottenwald Forest, with Ignatius and Verres holding the Eagles. They’re on horseback; the dead are all around them. Equally brutal are the boils Antonius and Achillia deal with. They look awful, and the ensuing panic is totally understandable.

Ramesses’ house is thoroughly Egyptian throughout, and I appreciate the care with which the art depicts different civilizations and the lives of people. There again is a lot of background detail here which sets the tone so well.

The fight scene with the Roman soldiers is bloody and full of action. I like the scene leading up to this, when Antonius reveals the Eagles. We see the forces and their variety of expressions on seeing the priceless symbols. As always, this is a book that takes a lot of care in the details and it makes the read all that more rewarding.

BOTTOM LINE: A FITTING CONCLUSION TO A COMPLICATED MYSTERY

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 is a satisfying ending to this story. It ties up all the loose ends neatly. The bad guys get their just desserts, and our hero is left in that ambiguous place where he solved one problem, which may inadvertently lead to bigger problems. If you love historical mysteries as much as I do, this is a great read.

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4

10.0 A Satisfying End

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #4 is a satisfying ending to this story. It ties up all the loose ends neatly. The bad guys get their just desserts, and our hero is left in that ambiguous place where he solved one problem, which may inadvertently lead to bigger problems. If you love historical mysteries as much as I do, this is a great read.

  • Writing 10
  • Art 10
  • Coloring 10
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0
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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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