cover image Marathon


Boaz Yakin and Joe Infurnari. Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59643-680-0

This graphic novel opens with the first triumph of the legendary Greek courier (in this case renamed Eucles) over the tyrant king Hippias’ own son, the death of his parents at Hippias’ hands, and the tyrant’s exile a decade later. With that bit of backstory nimbly taken care of in the first few pages, the tale jump-cuts ahead to the day before the legendary battle, the Persian army ready to land at Greek shores, with Hippias at its side. If this is familiar to readers (or viewers) of 300, it should be, since the setup is essentially the same. But Yakim and Infurnari take a distinctly different angle, casting the Persians as worthy opponents for the Greeks to engage in battle. The focus is on strategy, which allows heroics to come out of the characters’ wits and will, rather than displays of rippling muscle. However, this focus on character is damaged by a sketchlike visual aesthetic that renders the characters’ faces looking nearly identical. This is frustrating early in the book, when the action focuses more heavily on the efforts of the army than on Eucles. As the book progresses, and Eucles takes center stage, the book rights itself, and by the end, it is easy to feel oneself racing alongside him toward Athens. (June)