Pax Romana

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Pax RomanaPax Romana by Jonathan Hickman
Format: Trade Paperback Comic
Published: 2008
Publisher: Image Comics

I’ve been hearing about Jonathon Hickman since I started getting back into comics. He’s was touted as a wonder child in the indie comic scene and has now been brought into Marvel. This is the first comic of his I’ve read, and I’m looking forward to picking through the rest.

Pax Romana begins 40 years in the future, when the Catholic church has lost most of its followers. The Vatican has finally embraced technology and have managed to unlock the secrets behind travelling back in time. They decide, in typical churchy fashion, that they know enough now to fix what they consider to be the problems of present day, and they send a team equipped with modern weaponry back in time to ancient Rome in an attempt to establish order and lasting dominance.

Right when you open this book you can tell you’re in for something different. The art style and the way he formats the page panels are really fun and interesting. Each page is a joy to look at, although I have to admit that the art did leave the characters feeling a bit stiff and lifeless at times. It took me a little while to get hooked while reading this, and the art is partly to blame for that. I wouldn’t want this style in every comic I read, but I did enjoy it during this.

I really enjoyed the story and the ideas in this. It’s a bit of a thought experiment in exactly what would happen if a modern army found themselves back in time, but since it’s so short you really just get a high level political view of that. It would have been interesting to have an ongoing series about them trying to just live their lives during all of this, like The Walking Dead but with zombies replaced with things like language barriers and lack of plumbing. Well, I’d find it interesting anyway…

Amazon has a ‘look inside‘ preview available.

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