One of the most frequently visited subjects of adaptation exists in the annals of Greek mythology. Whether we know the original stories or not, we definitely know the main players through popular culture. Witnessing mythical creatures — such as the centaurs — in Harry Potter or the Percy Jackson series, we have come into contact with mythological creatures one way or another. Comics especially serve to carry the spirit of Greek mythology. This is particularly true because often our favorite characters have a mythology that creators add, change, or try to make sense of as they take them on. That’s the difficulty of doing something well-known though: how can you make something old feel fresh? This is answered in KILL THE MINOTAUR #1.

READ: Not familiar with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur? Check out this in-depth explanation to read the original myth!

WARNING! This review contains light spoilers for KILL THE MINOTAUR #1!

KILL THE MINOTAUR #1, written by Chris Pasetto and Christian Cantamessa, tackles the story of Theseus, the Prince of Athens who seeks to defeat King Minos’s deadly Minotaur. This is all in order to stop King Minos from taking Athenian youth as human sacrifices for the creature. The setting takes place in Ancient Greece, allowing for artist Luka Ketner to show his take on the ancient civilization. Ketner’s art is gorgeous, particularly in the panels showing the Athenian landscape. The character designs are highly exaggerated so that the characters are drawn to represent their inner traits. This works both positively detrimentally for the comic. Despite the great design, the facial expressions and body language can shift too greatly from scene to scene.

Kill the Minotaur #1
Image from KILL THE MINOTAUR #1, courtesy of Image Comics

Too Much Drama Proves for Inconsistency

This isn’t a problem of the art alone. While drama can be great for emotional development, constant drama makes it hard to illicit an emotional response. Scenes bounce from one intense moment to another, from playfulness to anger to despair in jarring instances. This is also a problem in the main character, Theseus. He moves too quickly from a prince torn by the suffering of his people to a wisecracking arrogant youth. It’s difficult to pin down his character because he doesn’t properly develop one particular persona. The problem isn’t that he fails to develop or learn, or that he lacks inherent heroic qualities. Theseus simply shifts too quickly between being either intolerable or hyper aware of morality; it’s too inconsistent.

READ: Love mythology? Check out our analysis of Thor and how stands up to his Norse legend!

The storytelling also proves problematic in this regard. Those unfamiliar with the original myth might find KILL THE MINOTAUR #1 difficult to follow. Various important characters’ roles and motivations aren’t well explained. Huge moments that change the trajectory of the story happen at the drop of a hat and suddenly we lurch into the next moment without time to process. While the action moves quickly and the violence holds no bars, both the art and the writing struggle with giving the story space to breathe.

Final Thoughts on KILL THE MINOTAUR #1

Despite the problems, this comic has a lot of potential. Those who enjoy Greek myth will find a treat in seeing these legends brought to life. Beyond the missteps, the comic strives towards the grandness of mythology that makes us return to it time and time again. Occasionally, however, this elusive spirit is captured. At the end of the issue, Theseus is set to discover and face off against the Minotaur, so the story might slow down enough to allow readers to savor the tension. It’s a shaky start, but I wouldn’t count it out of your reading list just yet.

KILL THE MINOTAUR #1 is a highly ambitious first issue, but comes up a bit too short in some respects. Despite the problems, I would recommend keeping an eye out for what comes next in the series, and I anticipate that any Greek mythology fan will enjoy this take on the classic myth.
70 %
Passionate, bloody, but just a bit too choppy

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