“Sing to me, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles”: a rousing graphic rendition of Homer’s great epic.
It’s a blood-soaked poem of primeval war, one ostensibly fought over a certain daughter of Zeus who turned the wrong head—“Or possibly an apple, or a lot of gold, or control of trade routes”—that brought vast armies to the plains of Troy. In a fight personified by two heroes, Trojan Hector and Greek Achilles, there’s more than a little graphic violence here—but nothing other than what Homer himself described, as when Achilles’ spear finds Hector’s neck, followed by Achilles’ intemperate curse: “Your corpse goes to the dogs.” That’s not very sporting, and of course Achilles gets his comeuppance. Hinds allows that his version is not complete, but all the best bits are there, and he provides some helpful interpretive hints—identifying the principal helmeted Greek and Trojan warriors with subtle alphabetical designs on their breastplates, for instance. The best graphic panels are the ones that show the war’s vastness, with a two-page spread of those famed thousand ships crossing the Hellespont, another panel showing the Greek army spilling out onto the plain, “like the great flock of migrating birds that take wing in the meadows by the stream of Caÿster—as numerous as the leaves of a forest.” An author’s note and page-by-page notes provide further context.
An expertly crafted rendition and a welcome invitation to younger readers to immerse themselves in the ancient past. (map, bibliography) (Graphic adaptation. 10-adult)