In this penultimate issue of Three, things get bloody, and the end looks set to be even bloodier. We left off last issue with our 3 heroic Helots on the run from 2 separate groups of Spartans, and in this issue, they converge.
First to come across them is Nestos, the son of the Spartan who was killed to set all of these events in motion. He is convinced by the tracker he’s hired, Aristodemos, to try a more subtle approach. Aristedemos is a ‘Skirites’, another form of slave (as with previous issues, this is explained in depth in the back-matter interviews between Gillen and a Historian), and so he is able to trick the Three into taking a different path, and leading them into a trap. Before this happens however, Terpender continues to question Klaros about his history, and his strong fighting ability. Terpander tells another story of recent Spartan history, where, after a victory, all of the greatest Helot fighters were killed by the Spartans as punishment for being too good at fighting. Terpander believes that Klaros was a part of this army, but he was too smart to admit he’s a good fighter, and so has slipped under the radar. I’m inclined to agree with Terpender here, but Klaros keeps insisting he’s just a butcher.
Anyway, so the Three are trapped, and Nestos attacks them, leading to a brutal fight between him and Klaros, which ends when Terpander sacrifices himself to allow Klaros to win. As Nestos has his spear embedded in Terpander, he is not able to use it against Klaros, and gets got. It was great to see Terpander go out as a hero, throughout this series he’s been a chatty jerk, but here, his goodness shines through in allowing his friends to survive.
Unfortunately, whilst this is happening, the other, much larger group of Spartans is closing in on them. The issue ends with Klaros donning Nestos’ armour and going out to face the Spartans. Next issue is going to be bloody, one man (and one woman) against an army.
Ryan Kelly’s art once again perfectly complemented Gillen’s story, the violent action scenes in particular have been brilliant throughout, and you really felt the impact of Terpander’s death thanks to Kelly. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this mini-series, and can’t wait for the final chapter, although given the way the creative team has strived for realism and historical accuracy, I don’t think we’re going to get a happy ending.