With this issue, the book’s artwork takes a turn and it is not for the worse, simply different from what has come before and as it is, Ron Randall does a great job at portraying Arak in a much cleaner style than was previously seen in the series. Due to that, it has lost a little of its grittiness, but it is also a little more fluid as it moves from panel to panel. Suffice it to say, the book is in good hands and as for the story, Roy and Dann Thomas bring it all back to Byzantium where Arak means to gain a ship and some men in order that he might sail across the seas to find his people. To do this means confronting the Empress, but getting there is another thing entirely and soon he is embroiled in a feud between a group of men called the Greens and another called the Blues. These two groups it seems are to battle in the hippodrome, racing upon chariots to curry favour from the leaders of Byzantium and so it is that Arak somehow ends up being a charioteer for the Greens. It is here that the pace of the book picks up exponentially as the action and excitement kick into overdrive with Arak meeting his opponents, discovering that they are not going to be easy opponents to defeat and the race kicking off with no time to waste. While Arak believes that this is only a race, he is forced to realize that it is much more than that as reputations are on the line and when his partner is killed, Arak becomes incensed. Whether the man wins or not is put out of his mind, all Arak can think about is gaining revenge for the blatant murder that took place of his comrade and with a little help from Satyricus, Arak means to strike back. Randall’s talents are on full display as he gives the book a visceral energy and when the race finally comes to an end, Arak stands tall as the winner of the bout. Earlier on in the issue, Arak and Satyricus came face-to-face with what was reportedly a wer-beast, a lioness in form and nothing more the heroes thought, which was their introduction to the Green faction. Now with the race over, the wer-beast is to be sacrificed and where it was a lioness one moment, Arak now sees a woman and readers can easily guess that Arak will not stand by to let her die as such. A great issue from cover to cover with Arak taking care of a little old business before getting on with the new.
4 out of 5