Writers Connor McCreey and Anthony Del Col
Art Andy Belanger
Colors Ian Herring
Format 30 Pages of Story and Art
Due in Stores April 14
This was a very cool book. Now before I go on I have to confess that my knowledge of Shakespeare’s works is very poor as I read much of it in high school the decades and drinking have not been kind to having a strong recollection of the works. Oh I know all the high points and have seen some of the movies, but outside the Reduced Shakespeare Company doing of all of Shakespeare works for one of their shows I have had little direct exposure to Shakespeare over the last many years. That makes me positive that I’m missing tons of references.
Now I can be as much of an intellectual snob as the next person, but Kill Shakespeare seemed daunting as I was afraid that my limited knowledge could block my enjoyment of the book, but it didn’t, in fact it makes me want to go back and read some the plays that are being referenced in this comic. The long and short of the story is Hamlet, now an outcast ultimately, after an adventure and some soul searching, ends up being recruited to Kill Shakespeare or at least bring his quill back to King Richard.
This book is creating its own genre in some ways. You can say it is a little bit of Fables and touches on themes I saw when I was reading Unwritten for awhile, but it carves its own unique path. One thing that was so great about it, that I think even if you knew nothing about Shakespeare or Hamlet the story would draw you in and hold you. The characterization is great, the story line is set up very well and the book is a very easy read.
The introduction calls it Fables meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with a dash of Northlanders. The premise; pit the Bard’s greatest heroes against his greatest villains. It sounds like this could be a dense and perhaps a little boring, but it is bright, bold and a heck of a lot of fun.
Now the artwork took a little while longer into the book to win me over. For some reason it kept reminding me of Don Perlin’s artwork from many moons ago. Perlin was a competent artist who could tell a good story, but his style was almost pedestrian. It was missing the wow factor. Andy Belanger’s art had moments that left me with that type of impression, but Andy’s work grew on me with each page. His style has more of an indy / storyboard type feel to it at times, but is also filled with details and depicts the timeframe of the story very well. I went from ho-humming his work in the beginning to appreciating his style and take on the story. One thing for me that is very important is that the art meshed with the story. The story flowed with the art. Given the elements being juggled here and what was trying to be established the creative team did a brilliant job.
Now I’m not going to tell you this is the best book of the week, because I have only a limited idea of what else is due out that it will be competing with, but I will tell you that if you want to see more then capes and cowls, this series is one you should pick up and check out. It has the feeling of being a truly entertaining and terrific series that will only get better as time goes by. When you read great series like Scalped, Echo, Fables and others the first issues draw you in, but the stories just get better and better as the writers get into the rhythm of what they are doing.
My Recommendation – Buy it and put it on your pull list, has the potential to be a great series and the first issue is more than worth the entry price.