Not Quite 300 – Xerxes: Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander HC
by Brendan M. Allen
Frank Miller returns to the world of 300 with this sprawling historical epic! Persian King Xerxes sets out to conquer the world to avenge his father Darius’s defeat and create an empire unlike anything the world has ever seen… Until the hardy Greeks produce a god king of their own, Alexander the Great.
Frank Miller goes back to the well with Xerxes: Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander HC. Cheese and rice, that’s a long title. This book (I’m not saying all those words again) takes place in the semi-historical, mostly mythological world of 300, ten years prior to The Battle of Thermopylae. After the demise of the Persian King Darius, his young son Xerxes sets out on an odyssey to create an empire like the world has never known. Not to be outdone, the Greeks are on a parallel path, under the authority of some cat named Alexander.
Some of the artwork is amazing. Some of it, not so much. It doesn’t seem like Miller is putting as much texture into his backgrounds as he was 20 years ago, and there are glaring differences in the amount of character detail from sequence to sequence. In some cases, from panel to panel.
Before I go any further, I should probably say I’m very skeptical of sequels. Especially sequels to amazing graphic novels and cult movies that I love. Boondock Saints is among my all time favorite films. Ever watch Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day? Holy hell, that was a rotten film. I sat all the way through that turd, hoping it would redeem itself at some point. It did not. I tell you this so you’ll know Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander was gonna have to fight an uphill battle to win me over.
Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite get me there. A lot of the charm of the first story just isn’t present in this prequel piece. The violence, gore, crazy action sequences…all there, just not tied together in nearly as neat a fashion as the original. It’s not a bad story, it just isn’t 300. Stood beside the original, Xerxes pales in comparison.
Of course, if you’re a Frank Miller fan, you’ll love it. It’s reminiscent enough of the first piece to draw in diehard fans, it just doesn’t break a lot of new ground or do anything ridiculously engaging.
Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander HC collects issues #1-#5 of the miniseries. Published by Dark Horse Books, released 06 February 2019. Story and art by Frank Miller, color by Alex Sinclair.