‘Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #3’ - Advance Comic Book Review

Issue three of Frank Miller’s Xerxes takes on both an experimental and an artistic turn when compared to the first two issues of the series. While issues one and two focused on combat sequences and the Battle of Marathon, issue three is completely devoted to Xerxes and his rise as a god king. Miller accomplishes the telling of Xerses’ transformation by having every single page of issue three be a double-page spread.

Every.

Single.

One.

The end result is some of the most artistically done drawings ever by Miller. This issue sees Xerxes completely covered in gold and jewels, and every frame of him and his new bride Esther (adorned similarly) pops off the page. The double-page format combined with having Xerxes and Esther’s bodies done in silhouette accentuates each and every single accoutrement on their bodies. The coloring work of Sinclair takes further advantage of this, causing the characters to almost radiate as if looking at the invincible sun or piles of pure, polished gold.

The telling of Xerxes’ rise as a god king is done in a contradictory fashion: The issue begins with many panels depicting different death sequences of Xerxes only to show him alive and searching for a bride. Esther will become Xerxes’ bride only if Xerxes promises to spare her tribe. He does, but decides to incinerate their village and yet recants on that and instead proclaims a festival. The narrative keeps contradicting itself, yet this perfectly replicates the concept of myth generating: All stories about a legendary character are both false and true. It’s a risky decision to do the narrative this way in Xerxes, but Miller pulls it off. The issue gives the impression to the reader that they truly saw the rise of Xerxes and yet plants many seeds of doubt, as well. In the few scant pages of issue three, Miller truly constructs a myth.


Creative Team: Frank Miller (writer and artist), Alex Sinclair (colorist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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