I picked up Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships recently not just because it was on the sale table, but because the interior art (not the cover!) drew me in. Be warned, some spoilers follow (as if you don’t already know the story of the Trojan War.)
I wanted to really like this book. I wanted to be able to finish it and then run here and tell everyone to drop everything and go pick up a copy (likely on the sale table) and then love it. But I can’t really do that. Not because it’s bad because it isn’t…but there are some issues with it that unless you really REALLY like the story of the Trojan War, get in the way of the enjoyment.
Shanower’s art is, of course, very nice. It’s fun to look at in almost a fine art kind of way. Aside from the problems I mention below, it flows nicely and, if you’re not trying to keep up with any sort of story, is easy to read.
Yeah, okay…no it’s not. But I don’t hold Shanower responsible for all Greek names being difficult to pronounce (and thus read) nor do I hold him responsible for all of them looking alike. And they all look like they could be siblings (many are) and if he didn’t do little things like slight modifications to hair, I wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart. Many times I found myself stopping to look back at the panels before to try to figure how who was who. Because their Greek, they all have big honkers! (that’s noses!) Even the ladies! And all the dudes have long hair. It can get very frustrating.
Aside from all the names being hard to pronounce and read—which we kind of expect because it’s Greek—the story has very little in the way of captions and often the scenes shift and we don’t know it…or when we do, we don’t have any idea where we’ve shifted to! I mean, he doesn’t have to give us Chris Claremont style captions to let us know, but please tell us where we’ve gone when the camera shifts and different people—who look like the last people—start talking and saying more names we can’t pronounce.
But the most frustrating thing of all…after I’d weathered through all 200 pages…the blamed thing is continued. WHAT? And then I get to browsing around on the internet and find it is part 1 of … (get this) SEVEN. Supposed Shanower started the project in 91…I mean, the internet said it so it must be true! …and if it IS true, he should finish volume 7 around 2025? I don’t think I want to wait that long to finish it.