By: Chris Pasetto; Christian Cantamessa
Illustrator: Lukas Ketner; Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Mythology is something I have long been fascinated by, an interest that formed when I was a child and stuck. While I sit on the fence most of the time with retellings of popular fairy tales or legends, I decided to give this one a try. Kill the Minotaur is written by Chris Pasetto and Christain Cantamessa with art by Lukas Ketner and Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and is a unique retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
Kill the Minotaur retells the classic story of Theseus’ fight against the Minotaur. After losing a war to Crete, Athens must pay tribute to King Minos. The tribute in question? The sacrifice of Athen’s best citizens to a great labyrinth rumored to house a great monster – the Minotaur. Even those serving under Minos believe him mad, though, and Theseus might be exactly who they need to set their plans into action.
There was little character development for our main character, Theseus. He begins the tale as a spoiled, selfish prince despite Athens having lost a recent war to Crete. His attitude changes very little if at all through the novel. While his narrow viewpoint can be irritating, Theseus does have redeemable qualities. He might not be any great strategist, but he is one of the few characters who are actually focused on the current threat of the great Minotaur trying to kill them. Also, and rather unexpectedly, he doesn’t hold half as much of a grudge against Crete, its princess, or its people as the others in his company.
These character’s immense grudges against Crete and Theseus’ family for their complicity in Crete’s demand for sacrifices to the Minotaur are warranted. They suffered great injustice, having their family members ripped away from them never to be seen again. Yet the sort of backstabbing duplicity that occurs throughout the story feels out of place. I can’t imagine the sort of head space someone must be in to completely ignore a literally monster in order to exact their own revenge on individuals who had nothing to do personally with their plight.
In all, a majority of the minor characters in the story had rather unbelievable actions, at least for the time and place. When trapped in a labyrinth that can kill you and being relentlessly pursued by a terrible monster current politics and personal vendetta’s are usually forcibly placed to the side. Yet what we find here is plotting and backstabbing, even when the Minotaur is in the same room. This felt extraordinarily out of place and pulled me out of the story.
What I did like was the art. Colors are bright, popping off the page. This was not something I expected to find, especially considering that a good portion of the story takes place in a labyrinth. The labyrinth itself is quite unlike anything I had ever imaged the Minotaur would be trapped within. It’s a terrifying place, a great network of tunnels and structures none could ever hope to escape. Kill the Minotaur did what no other version of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur did – it made it scary. The labyrinth is an unsettling concept, but it was brought to life here, turned into something rather horrifying. The Minotaur is also terrifying, rendered here as a true monster.
Unfortunately the story falls short in several aspects. Characters are overly concerned with personal vendettas with complete inconsideration to time, place, and personal danger. The gore and violence was, at times, a bit excessive. The ending also feels a little open ended, as if making room for a possible sequel despite not being listed as a series. Certain aspects of the story, while interesting, were never fleshed out fully and didn’t come to any satisfying conclusions.
In all, I didn’t love Kill the Minotaur as much as I initially expected. If you like mythology or retellings this might be something you want to read. If you don’t like excessive gore or extreme violence this might be something to skip.