The Asgardian Trade Commission 12/5/10

Posted on December 5, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

By Erik Lewis, Lead Blogger

Man, Thanksgiving really messed this site up as far as a schedule is concerned.  I apologize for that and will do my level best to get us back on tack, but in the meantime, it’s Sunday afternoon, time for us to go about our business with The Asgardian Trade Commission!  Follow along!

Kill Shakespeare Volume 1

IDW, $19.99

Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, Andy Belanger, Justin Eisinger

Collects Kill Shakespeare #1-6

Review by Erik Lewis

I got a press release for Kill Shakespeare a little while ago, and the premise immediately caught my attention.  I think it’s like either Fables of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in that it takes established characters, from Shakespeare in this case, and sets them in their own world.  We see the likes of Hamlet, Othello, Juliet, and Falstaff going up against Richard the Third, Lady Macbeth, and Iago.  In some cases, McCreery and Del Col have the events from the characters’ plays already passed, and others we join during the events of their own.  It only makes sense in some cases, as Hamlet would be dead were he at the end of his play.  What McCreery and Del Col do with the characters is very interesting and inspired.  The basic premise is that all these characters exist in the same world, and even some of the plays that take place in the past too, like Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, and since they exist in the same world, all the characters are free to interact.  The book starts with Hamlet being exiled from Denmark to England, being attacked by pirates in the journey, and losing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the ensuing battle.  He awakes in the company of Richard the Third, who informs him of the quest he undertakes in the book.  In another stroke of inspiration, not only do all the characters occupy the same world, but they are all aware of their creator, either addressed as a god or as a wizard, Shakespeare is held responsible for their stories and his quill is said to be the source of his powers.  So Hamlet, also known as the Shadow King, sets off, with the help of Richard the Third, to find and kill Shakespeare and take his quill for Richard the Third, and in return Richard will bring Hamlet’s father back to life.  Throughout the story there is an even balance of humor(mostly from Falstaff), action, and tension.  Del Col and McCreery take the work laid forth by the Bard and take it to the next step, and it’s a good one.  They also lay the groundwork for a continuing story, making sure that just about everything they show matters.  They have a great grasp of each of the characters, making sure Lady Macbeth is ambitious, Juliet a bit of a romantic, Iago is duplicitous, and Hamlet is pretty angsty.  The art throughout the book is very easy to follow, and in some cases the page layouts are absolutely wonderful, and never does the art skimp on small touches, whether it’s the backgrounds or little things like Hamlet’s dagger, or the III insignias marking Richard’s troops.  Altogether, this is a great read and well worth your time and money.  It’s sometimes a gamble when picking up an independent title, especially because it’s not established, but these guys take the gamble out of it, taking a solid premise with solid characters and building from there.  I cannot wait for the next collection to come out!

Odin’s Beard 5/5

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