If you’re a fan of Shakespeare and a fan of the Fables series by Bill Willingham, then this comic should be right up your alley. The authors take the world of Shakespeare and turn it upside down. The characters are self aware and realize that there is some higher power that controls their world, but one faction seeks to kill this higher power–Shakespeare, and take his power for their own. At the center of the battle is Hamlet who has been case out of his home and finds himself in a strange land with two groups battling to control him, for they fear and hope that he is the one that can be the final piece of the puzzle. I had the pleasure of meeting the creators of “Kill Shakespeare” last year at Heroescon and they somehow convinced me to buy the first volume and take it home. And I came away mostly pleased with my purchase. And so…I decided to continue reading to see what happens next.
Hamlet and Juliet continue their journey, to rally those seeking to save Shakespeare and to stop King Richard from killing him. Hamlet must be protected at all costs and so his companions are careful about where they go. They settle on a small town where a strange performing group comes to entertain. And the play they pick forces Hamlet to confront his past acts and his fears and bear all in front of Lady Juliet.
The biggest problem that I have with this issue and to be honest with the previous volume, is that it feels like you need to go back and reread all of Shakespeare to understand who some of the people are and what their roles are. The authors don’t do the best jobs of introducing characters and what their traits are and how they connect with each other. I know people (including myself) that compare this series to Fables, but what Fables does well is it isn’t hindered by the past uses of the characters. They give them new lives and new details emerge as to who they really are. And that’s something that I think the writers for this series need to work a bit on. If you’re a huge fan of Shakespeare though you’ll instantly recognize and know all of the characters and how they connect to each other, but if you’re like me and you vaguely remember them…it gets a bit confusing. The overall story in this issue is decent enough although it does suffer a little bit from some gaps in the transitions and trying to cram a lot of text into the page which can prove to be a bit overwhelming at times.
The artwork isn’t bad, although it appears that the characters can never be happy as they always look angry or confused…well mostly angry. It fits well with the story, but there isn’t anything that just jumps out as being absolutely amazing. It’s not a bad thing, but I just don’t walk away with an image that really stands out for me.
It’s an interesting series and I’ll keep any eye on it. I just wish I didn’t have to bone up on all of the plays to make sense out of some of the characters or places mentioned. But…I do like where its going and the idea behind it. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare you’ll definitely enjoy this comic and if you’re a fan of the Fables series…you may want to give this one a try.