What you're seeing here for the first time is the cover of Three #1, the first chapter in a new miniseries written by Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, Young Avengers) and drawn by Ryan Kelly (Saucer County, Local) that takes a much different, more historically accurate look at the violent world of ancient Sparta and the legendary 300 warriors than we've seen in some other comic books of note. Specifically, Gillen and Kelly's Three undermines the notion of Sparta as a free and heroic society -- as dramatized by Frank Miller in his celebrated graphic novel 300 and its hugely popular film adaptation -- by telling the story of three slaves on the run for their lives.

“I want this to be as credible a story as I can make it–as accurate as I can,” Gillen told Sarah Jaffe in a ComicsAlliance interview last year, explaining that while the Spartan warriors were indeed fierce and incredible, but they had the freedom to become so only because their society was built on the backs of slaves. Called Helots, these laborers were hunted by Spartan warriors as a training exercise.

Gillen worked with historical consultant  Stephen Hodkinson from the University of Nottingham to give authenticity to the story, which Gillen described as action-packed but "explicitly political" with respect to contemporary life. "The question of who provides for society and who is provided for by it and the economics of that...This is one of the things I fully expect and indeed hope people will read into the book."

Also featuring the colors of Jordie Bellaire, Three #1 (of five) goes on sale October 9 from Image Comics.

art / cover RYAN KELLY
historical consultant PROF. STEPHEN HODKINSON

32 PAGES / FC / M

 When a member of the Spartan ruling class visits an isolated homestead of Helot workers, a brutal massacre is only the beginning. KIERON GILLEN (PHONOGRAM, Über, Iron Man), RYAN KELLY (Saucer County, Local) and JORDIE BELLAIRE (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, NOWHERE MEN) unite to tell the heroic story of three slaves and their desperate attempt to escape 300 of the finest warriors who've ever lived.

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