Kill Shakespeare Volume 1 Paperback – Nov 9 2010
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From the Canadian Children's Book Centre
This is an action-adventure tale that pits all of the Bard’s greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady MacBeth, Iago) on a quest to either save, or kill, a mysterious wizard by the name of William Shakespeare.
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Top Customer Reviews
Much like Fables, these guys take the classic plays and incorporate all of their characters into one amalgamated universe which stands outside the source material to create something wholly original. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and though it does no recreate shakespeare in any way, I think it does a good job paying homage to his works.
The artwork is very sharp, with some excellent imagery and really nice character designs, Othello looks like a BAMF, and the panels are put together beautifully.
This is an excellent book to pick up if you're a fan of Fables or LOEG. Very good book, I highly recommend it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Vaulting Ambition proves valiant dust
The premise will no doubt bring Bill Willingham's "Fables" to mind for many readers. //Kill Shakespeare// likewise takes well known characters and tries to combine and grown them in ways both entertaining and unexpected. Just as I won't be the first person to make this comparison, I suspect I won't be the only one to conclude that, despite many strengths, Kill Shakespeare proves wanting.
Series creators Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have a demonstrable affection for this material, but will irk many readers with short comings in both textual understanding and language. Most crucially of all, the writers rarely make the creative leap into taking these well known characters in directions that are both novel and engaging (Iago and Lady Macbeth being two delightful exceptions). More often than not, the writers move these iconic characters in the opposite direction, reducing their depth in the service a rather convoluted narrative.
These criticisms may be made harsher by a combination of my love of Shakespeare and my high expectations of this book. This series grasps at such a high concept that success was almost certain to prove elusive. On occasion, the action and dialogue proves amusing. I enjoyed the appearance of characters from the cast of some of the less widely read plays (and was more than a little disappointed to find them remain in minor roles). On the whole, however, this work's faults lie not in its stars but in itself.
I was not disappointed. This is a fun, fresh take on Shakespeare while obviously owing a debt to Fables and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Taking Shakespeare's familiar characters and putting them in a "shared" universe. Where Falstaff meets Hamlet, where Don John and Othello fight, where Richard the III has an agreement with the McBeths and mentions Titus and Lear.
The writing is sharp with plenty of references to Shakespeare's works. Some are subtle (Hamlet washes ashore in Richard's kingdom thanks to a "tempest"), others not as subtle (a whorehouse where Falstaff disguises himself as a woman is called "The Merry Wives of Windsor") and some are funny (a pub called "Bottom's Up"). There are also several lines spoken that came from various Shakespearean plays. Authors McCreery and Del Col know what they are writing abou t. Hamlet has a fine mixture of pathos, whining, uncertainty, and heroism. Iago is perfectly deceiving and Falstaff is just PERFECT!
The artwork I'm less impressed with. It's good, and the characters don't shift. It's certainly not the worst artwork I've seen out of IDW (their Expendables comic comes to mind), but I guess I was looking for something cleaner and not so comic like. Personal opinion of course.
Overall a 4 star review and I can't wait to see where Vol 2 takes us.
I won't say much about other character developments for fear of spoiling things, but I was pleased to see Tamora making an appropriately murderous and mysterious appearance, as well as the hint of interaction and competition among the kingdoms of Shakespeare's monarchs. The additional material involving Hecate tears down the fourth wall behind the fourth wall in a particularly intriguing way.
Overall, I enjoyed the beginning and am looking forward to the next volume.
Here's my word of advice...brush up on your Shakespeare before reading this volume. So many different characters and plots from the plays are thrown at you that it's hard to figure out some of the references if you haven't read the plays in a while. The overall story is decent enough although it does suffer a little bit from some gaps in the transitions and trying to cram a lot into the page which can prove to be a bit overwhelming.
The artwork isn't bad, although it appears that the characters can never be happy as they always look angry or confused...mostly angry. It fits well with the story, but there isn't anything that just jumps out at you as amazing. It lacks some of the polish that you can find in some series, such as Fables or "Y: the Last Man" and so background colors can overwhelm the foreground or both just blend together a bit.
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.