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Kill Shakespeare #1

Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010
By: Karyn Pinter

Conor McCreery & Anthony Del Col
Andy Belanger, Ian Herring (c), Robbie Robbins (l)
IDW Publishing
Opening with Hamlet and his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern heading out on their fated trip to England, Kill Shakespeare blends and bends the Bard's most famous stories into a new adventure, pitting heroes like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet against some of Shakespeare's most dastardly villains.

Kill Shakespeare has things that work for it and things that work against it. People do love seeing characters they know come to life in different situations, a la League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The art is lovely and the colors are fantastic, but those will only carry a book so far. Unfortunately, not everyone cares for Shakespeare. Many of the original works can come off as dense and confusing, and a similar thing happens in Kill Shakespeare. Those who love the Bard may be willing to tolerate the long verse of this comic, but those of you who abhorred having to read it in high school will find no comfort in this adaptation. It will seem long and, in parts, unfulfilling. I have to say, Hamlet has never been a favorite of mine, and seeing him star in this comic did nothing for me. However, I really like Richard III and seeing him as a main villain alongside Lady Macbeth was a treat. I think this might be the sort of book where I would root for the bad guys because, frankly, they were more interesting. However, rooting for the bad guys might seem a little odd since it wasn't too clear why they want to kill Shakespeare. Is it a personal vendetta, or are they just evil and want to control the world? It seems like it might be both, but again, nothing was explained beyond just wanting the quill of Shakespeare, which Hamlet is supposed to retrieve.

It's hard to tell if or when Kill Shakespeare will pick up action wise, or become more detailed plot-wise. I found it to be a very middle of the road and generally an average effort. Nothing felt new, nothing popped out as exemplary. I expected to be grabbed by the first issue and instead found myself struggling to finish, much like my days of reading Hamlet back in high school. The title is very straightforward, and you would expect the plot to be the same, but right off the bat it feels like there are too many twists and turns to be taken and the reward just might not be worth the time.



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