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Review: ‘Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood’ #4

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An enjoyable re-imagination of classic Shakespearean characters, Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood #4 delivers an excellent issue full of sorcery and adventure. Don’t worry if you’re not fully versed in Shakespeare. Newcomers are still going to understand what’s going on and what the characters are saying. Readers should not miss out on this exciting installment of the “Kill Shakespeare” series.

WRITTEN BY: Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
ART BY: Andy Belanger
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: May 29th, 2013

With his heart broken by Juliet, Romeo listens to lies being fed to him by the powerful wizard, Prospero. Consumed with jealousy, Romeo wants Juliet for himself but he has to get rid of Hamlet first. As Hamlet and Othello are held prisoners by Prospero’s island, Juliet has to come to their recue. But, what will happen when Romeo and Juliet finally confront each other? In order to save the love of her life, Juliet will have to raise her sword against her old flame, Romeo. Will the god-like wizard Shakespeare risk getting involved once again and save his creations from death?

Writers Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have taken an unexpected twist on Prospero’s Island. Alive with its own wants and needs, the island is rebelling against its master and doesn’t want to follow Prospero’s orders anymore. I find it fascinating that McCreery and Del Col have visually given a face to an unseen character, Sycorax. Only described from other characters in “The Tempest,” Sycorax is now a scheming trickster hiding behind the mask of an abnormal tree. Sycorax always has a smirk on his face, as if he is having fun playing mind-games around Juliet.

McCreery and Del Col have also developed the complexity of the heartbroken Romeo. Yearning to be a hero, Romero wants to protect Juliet from the island. But, he wants revenge against the god-like wizard Shakespeare. Romeo feels abandoned and neglected after he sacrificed so much for Shakespeare. Romeo thinks he is doing right by Juliet, but he doesn’t realize he is also being manipulated in the process.

Artist Andy Belanger captures the suspense as Juliet and Romeo travel through different parts of the island to reach the same destination. Before discovering a hidden entrance, Juliet finds two decomposed heads sitting on spikes. Romeo finds himself surrounded by statues of demons reaching out for him. The readers are watching the two narratives unfold at the same time. In an inventive use of panel layouts, the scene looks cinematic, as if Belanger was using the split-screen technique.

In an impressive opening splash page, Belanger shows readers how Prospero is mentally torturing Hamlet. We see how Prospero is phasing his hand through Hamlet’s skull and squeezing his brain. Inside Hamlet’s head, Prospero is doing all kinds of damage to his mental state. In a creepy character design, Prospero looks like his eyes gouged out, as if he purposely blinded himself.

The characters in “Kill Shakespeare: Tide of Blood” #4 are heading to an epic battle of good vs. evil. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the conclusion.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis