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Review – Kill Shakespeare: A Sea of Troubles

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Kill ShakespeareI hated Shakespeare in high school.  I somewhat understood what was going on, but the rhyming, and “cute” wording just didn’t appeal to me.  If you had put Kill Shakespeare in my hands back then, I might have had a different attitude.  Written by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col, illustrated by Andy Belanger, and published by IDW Publishing this trade paperback collects the first six issues of the series.

The Kill Shakespeare graphic novel, which offers an edgy interpretation of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, brings Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Puck and others together for an epic adventure. In the book, readers encounter a banished Hamlet, who embarks on a quest to resurrect his dead father. But to do so, he must kill a reclusive wizard named… William Shakespeare!  The graphic novel features a foreword by award-winning cartoonist Darwyn Cooke (New Frontiers, The Hunter, The Outfit), as well as a brand new five-page story that further explores the mythology of the Kill Shakespeare world.

There’s something really fun about the series.  I know most of the characters, but absolutely am not an expert in things Shakespeare.  With my limited knowledge I enjoyed the series and those with none will like it just for the story.  What I’d imagine is those with a deep understanding and encyclopedic knowledge of the bard’s tales will probably get so much more out of it.

Like The Unwritten, this series seems to work on so many levels.  I simple story, but also one that is so much more rich for those who know the references.

I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve seen the series on the shelves and like an idiot didn’t take a chance on what’s turned out to be a wonderful series.  Don’t be a fool and pick this one up today.

Plot: McCreery and Del Col do the impressive by making the bard cool.  I know these characters and would fake injury to avoid reading the original works, but after reading this trade and the seventh issue I want to go back and discover the source material.  That’s an impressive accomplishment.  Rating: 9

Art: Belanger’s art is great.  There’s some solid stuff here with great character design and a mix of action and quieter moments.  You can see a build up in design that really takes off in the seventh issue (which is reviewed later).  While none of it blows me away, it’s very solid work.  Rating: 8.25

Overall: The fact I want to read Shakespeare’s original work says something.  If your kid needs to read about these character’s put this in their hands and see them get that same feeling.  For fans of Shakespeare, oh, this is an absolute buy.  Overall rating: 9

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 169 pages    Price: $19.99     Release: Out Now

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.

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