Rummanah Aasi
  Although I really enjoyed A Thousand Ships, the first volume of the Age of Bronze series, I was a bit curious as how the author will portray the tougher issues of the Trojan War in graphic novel format and whether or not I'd get bored with the series quickly since I already know how the war ends. Shanower proved me wrong on multiple levels in the next two installments of this brilliant graphic novel series: Sacrifice (Volume 2) and Betrayal (Volume 3A).

Description: Sacrifice picks up where A Thousand Ships ends: Paris has just returned to Troy with Helen and loot from Egypt and Sidon in tow. Although Paris is thrilled with his prize and capture of Helen, he absolutely no clue about his actions and the political complications. Priam does however, but he is swayed by the machinations of Helen and by Hecuba's generosity. Readers get to see how the major characters such as Achilles, Klytemnestra, and Odysseus grow and become more complex, but even a minor player like Telephus is carefully developed and has significance in the story. In Betrayal, High King Agamemnon is consumed with his desire to conquer Troy. He leads his army across the sea, fighting all the way. On the island of Tenedos, just off the coast of Troy, Achilles leads the attack and finds himself one step closer to his tragic fate that his mother always warned him about. Meanwhile, the Trojans prepare their defenses and gather allies. Agamemnon offers a peace embassy to King Priam, but the embassy fails to reassure peace. War appears inevitable.

Review: So far I have to say that Sacrifice is my favorite volume in the Age of Bronze series. Not only does the author brilliantly create each panel with such detail and precision, he also understands the human psychology, dramatic pacing, and narrative structure. As the title suggests, Sacrifice focuses on the human psychology of our main characters, particularly of Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Achilles, who have gray shades of their personality and are not always shown in the great light. Tough issues such as Agamemnon's family history as well as how Kassandra got her "powers" are addressed and handled tastefully. Whereas the human aspect of the warriors are shown in Sacrifice, Betrayal emphasizes on the political aspects of the war. I didn't know there was actually an attempt of making a truce between the two opposing sides (it doesn't surprise me, unfortunately that it wasn't unsuccessful). Shanower beautifully crafts a work that combines myth, legend, and historical facts. Accompanied in each volume is an extensive bibliography as well as two family trees. I really look forward to reading more of this series. 

Rating for each volume: 5 stars

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies and English-Greek Mythology 

Words of Caution: There are some serious issues discussed in these two volumes such as incest, sexual abuse, nudity, sex, and violence, however, these scenes are not drawn in graphic detail but enough detail for the reader to understand what is going on. For the reasons listed above, I would recommend this series to mature teens and adults only.

If you like these books, try: The Illiad from Marvel Comics by Roy Thomas
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