Kill The Minotaur
Writer: Chris Pasetto and Christian Cantamessa
Artist: Lukas Ketner
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieau
Letterer: Clem Robins
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Laura Forsey
Kill The Minotaur is a horror remake of the legend of Theseus, which reimagines Theseus as a lazy vainglorious prince, Ariadne as a vengeful hero, and the Minotaur as a creepy horror-movie serial killer.
The story begins with King Minos claiming the Minotaur to be his “adopted son”, sent to him by the gods. After the Minotaur rejects the sacrifice of a cow, Minos demonstrates his ruthless nature by dangling his own daughter Ariadne over the pit of the Labyrinth. After a time skip of eight years, we learn that Minos has been feeding the Minotaur by conquering Athens and demanding a tribute of fourteen Athenian youths every year. Enter Theseus, who is filled with ambitions of becoming a legendary hero. Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth, promises to help Theseus if he and his friend Pirithous disguise themselves as tributes and come to Crete to overthrow King Minos. Of course, the plan goes awry and Theseus and Pirithous end up in the Labyrinth with Ariadne, who in this version is a bow-wielding badass bent on killing the Minotaur.
If Theseus is a spoiled prince who wants everything in life handed to him on a platter, Ariadne is the opposite. She was abused by her power-hungry father, who declared that she would grow up to be the Minotaur’s “bride”, and she is determined to kill the monster before he can unleash it on the world. Neither trust the other, the tributes don’t seem to know who to trust, and they are all being picked off one by one by the Minotaur and the maze. Yes, not only is the Minotaur hunting the tributes, but the Labyrinth itself is full of deadly traps that can be set off at any moment.
The entire comic reads like a slasher film. The Minotaur doesn’t even appear on panel until page 64, but the suspense of its looming presence and the dangerous environment of the Labyrinth keep readers apprehensive throughout the story. Mainly though, its resemblance to over the top horror movies comes through the absolute buckets of gore. The blood starts on page three, and only gets more overdone as the story goes on. Lost limbs, torn out spines, popped eyeballs, death by crushing rock, Kill The Minotaur has it all. While that might be true to the original story of the Minotaur as a terrifying monster, there are many scenes of frankly gratuitous violence that felt utterly pointless. While the anatomy was detailed- always important when you’re flinging organs all over the page- the expressions seemed oddly over exaggerated and cartoonish. Having a character making odd faces in the background tends to ruin the grim, bloodthirsty mood of a scene.
Overall, the story’s main message was one of fear and despair. Every time the heroes think they’ve triumphed, or have reason to hope they’ll survive, someone gets brutally murdered. There are no heroes, only people who are less awful than the villains, and everyone deserves to die. It’s a harsh view of the world, especially given where we are right now in 2018.
Skip it. For those who love grim and gritty stories, or as big fans of the horror genre, this might be right up your alley. I personally found it difficult and disheartening to read, and wouldn’t recommend it.