Kill Shakespeare issue #11 Written by Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery, Art by Andy Belanger, Coloring by Ian Herring, Cover Art by Kagan McLeod and Published by IDW
Review Written by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong
For my summer vacation, I read Kill Shakespeare issue #11… that felt very natural to say, so my apologies. So put down your Cliff Notes that’s not going to be needed here. Many people (yes, I’m talking to you) reading this review who thought they were finished with Shakespeare after high school should forget hating that high school English teacher for forcing them to read Shakespeare with Kill Shakespeare. This series turns Shakespeare’s works upside down and inside out but remains a world immersed in his writings. Nowhere else, will you see Juliet argue with Othello or King Richard III try to convince Hamlet to join forces or Shakespeare himself interact with his very creations. The characters are split into two factions: the Prodigals lead by Othello, and Juliet and the forces of Richard III lead, obviously by, King Richard III and Lady Macbeth. The war is really a backdrop for a much larger battle for the famous quill of Shakespeare and fully confirms that the “pen is mightier than the sword.”
Issue 11 marches on into the start of the third and final act with only one issue to complete the series. With the Prodigals licking their wounds from Richard’s last attack, they leave their last hope for victory in their creator. Hamlet sets off for Shakespeare’s cottage only to find him both banged up and with a bruised pride. He tries to convince him to help mobilize the Prodigals into facing Richard’s force for the last time. Feeling sorry for himself, Shakespeare hands the quill to Hamlet but it is clear that only he can truly use the quill to its fullest power. The uncomfortable alliance of Lady Macbeth and King Richard is a bit strained in this issue after Richard killed one of the three witch sisters advising Lady Macbeth. The two sides unite for the enviable battle, one with Shakespeare and the other with Richard III rallying their respective troops. The issue ends with the battle raging and a twist ending that will force you, in a good way, into coming back for the very final installment.
The hardest part of writing this book is that you are writing characters that are part of, nay, are literature history. Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col handle this task like they were both a certain bard from Avon. From the perfectly spaced out ‘thees’ and ‘thous’, McCreery and Del Col capture the literary language of Shakespeare perfectly without it bogging down the dialogue. Each issue of this series has been a story upon itself with a beginning, middle and an end all rolled into one issue, a feat that some writers can’t accomplish in an entire miniseries.
Just as writing these classic characters is difficult, creating them visually is near impossible. From John Barrymore to Patrick Stewart to Orson Welles, these world-renowned actors have all played characters in Shakespearean plays leaving Andy Belanger with the impossible task. Belanger, hands down, creates characters that visually best represent what the very core of each character makes up. Visually, it is hard to present the very basic elements of tragedy and comedy but again, Belanger handles this task with ease.
Put down The Merchant of Venice or A Midsummer’s Dream and pick up Kill Shakespeare…it is Shakespeare for the 21st century.
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