Cassius #1, written by Emily Willis and illustrated by Ann Uland, is something different in comics. It’s a takeoff from Julius Caesar featuring a fascinating woman sent on a quest against her will.
From what I can tell, Junia lives in an alternate Ancient Rome. She has the possibility of becoming a Senator, because she’s involved with one of the local leaders. Her friend and mentor, Caius, has returned home, but their reunion is cut short. Junia finds herself involved in a conspiracy and murder plot.
There’s a lot more hinted at than spelled out, which provides some nice reasons to keep reading and thinking about the material. There are factions warring for control, only with a lot more more major roles for women and those of diverse background than in our history. The creators describe it as a “story for anyone who wished Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar contained more queer characters and a more dramatic action-adventure plot”.
More mystery is established than answered in this first issue, but it’s meaty, and I like the character designs. Junia, particularly, is inspiring. Issue #2 is due later this year. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)