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Review: ‘Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood’ #1

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With a promising new story arc, Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood #1 is the perfect issue for newcomers to jump into the series. If you are already a fan, the “Kill Shakespeare” series spins another great yarn of medieval adventure, fantasy, and dark magic. You have never seen an adaptation of Shakespeare’s works like this before.

WRITTEN BY: Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
ART BY: Andy Belanger
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: February 20th, 2013

Three months have passed since the ultimate defeat of Richard III and Lady Macbeth. Since the re-appearance of wizard-god William Shakespeare, Juliet Capulet’s rebellion has taken a much-needed break. A new nation is building and the Council of Thirty-Seven has been structuring their government. But a different threat is rising from the border as Titus is gathering an army. Titus will strike and no one will ever feel safe again, especially now that Shakespeare has gone missing again.

Using an assortment of Shakespeare’s works, writers Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col are building their own mythology, while breathing new life to forgotten literary characters. Because time has passed, McCreery and Del Col let their protagonists mature from their previous experiences. Othello and Juliet were once soldiers strategizing for battle, but now there is no more use for them because it is peacetime. Othello might never change because he still wants to get into a fight. Juliet is enjoying the calmness the most, but Hamlet is having a difficult time with the transition.

Though Hamlet is still integral to the plot, the spotlight is really on Romeo this issue. As a deeply flawed protagonist, Romeo drinks himself to death while yearning to find a purpose in this new life. Like before, in “A Sea Of Troubles and The Blast Of War,” McCreery and Del Col avoid iambic pentameter but keep the spirit of Shakespeare’s wordplay. You don’t need to bring your college/high school notes on Shakespeare to understand the dialogue. This really gives readers a refreshing chance to fully enjoy the story.

Artist Andy Belanger captures the medieval look with the boots, ragged clothing, and capes. In a creative page layout, I enjoyed the scene where Romeo and Hamlet have an argument in the middle of the woods. Belanger handles the poses, mannerisms, and facial expressions as if he is recreating a performance. The way Hamlet and Romeo are standing, it’s as if the woods is their stage and the two are acting out in a theatrical manner.

Belanger’s illustrations stands out when Romeo arrives to the rescue of a damsel-in-distress. Wish a sword in hand, Romeo recklessly throws himself into a horde of angry wolves. After slashing the head off of one of the wolves, another wolf is biting his arm, tearing his flesh with its fangs. In a surprising turn-of-events, the damsel-in-distress suddenly destroys the wolves and burns them to ashes.

The Bard’s greatest heroes and villains are pitted against each other once again in “Kill Shakespeare: Tide of Blood” #1 . Though Prospero’s island is just teased, this is a major reason to be excited about the next issue.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis