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Comic Book / Brath

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Brath is an American Sword & Sorcery comicbook written by Crossgen and set in their Sigilverse. It ran for a total of 15 issues (an "issue #0" prequel, and 14 issues proper) from February, 2003 to June, 2004 before the bankruptcy of Crossgen caused its premature demise.

Brath is set in a fantastical analogue to Iron Age Ireland, where Warchief Brath Mac Garen attempts to bring the fractious and quarrelsome clans of Ureland to unite against the invading forces of the Empire, a mighty nation based on Imperial Rome. In one final climatic battle, he is betrayed by a rival clan, the Mac Dools, and dragged off to the Empire in chains. Here, he becomes a gladiator, as the young Emperor Priscus Rex seeks to make an example of him. Back in Ureland, Brath's wife Taniella tries to hunt down the mad priestess C'inntra, who has kidnapped their son Bryllin as a Human Sacrifice.

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Before the story was cancelled, Brath had escaped the gladiatorial arena with the help of another gladiator, the warrior-women Ule, and the two were returning to Ureland. Taniella had declared a blood vendetta on the Cruithi tribe, believing them to have killed her son, whilst the actually still-alive Bryllin had escaped the Cruithi and befriended an ogre named Thute.

These comics contain examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ule, a female gladiator. Also, Taniella fights beside Brath.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Brath cuts off the hand of Pricus' hired sword, Vulpus, in issue #13.
  • Cliffhanger: Issue #14 ends with Brath's ship being barreled down upon by an Imperial warship.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • The hated Cruithi tribe are believed to practice cannibalism as part of their worship of the Moon Goddess.
    • Thute initially attempts to eat Bryllin when he meets him, before Bryllin talks him into helping instead.
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  • Human Sacrifice: The Urelanders practiced this once, but it has been banned for years as barbaric and unnatural. C'inntra, the mad priestess, wishes to bring this practice back.
  • The Night That Never Ends: C'inntra believes that, by sacrificing Brath's son Bryllin, she can bring this about.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: In issue #14, Bryllin befriends a giant hulking near-human named Thute.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Emperor Galba, whilst he has Brath defeated, would rather make peace with Brath after he is brought to the Empire, arguing that with the sheer size of the Empire, it is more practical to build strong alliances than strong walls.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After the Mac Dools betray Brath and the Mac Garens, the Empire puts them in the most dangerous positions during their continued campaign into Ureland, privately noting that the Mac Dools have proven they cannot be trusted.
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  • Teens Are Monsters: Priscus, the teenage nephew of Emperor Galba, a sadistic little monster who revels in the bloodshed of the gladiatorial games and murders his own uncle to usurp power.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Urelanders' greatest problem is that they cannot surmount their internal rivalries and rage to form a united front.
  • Wicked Witch: C'inntra, the mad priestess of the Moon Goddess who yearns to bring back the banned practices of Human Sacrifice and to help her nocturnal goddess claim dominion over the world.
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