The award-winning series returns with a high seas tale of pirate battles, vengeance and lost love. Hamlet, Juliet, Othello and Shakespeare become pawns in a deadly game of survival between the legendary masked pirate Captain Cessario, his first mate Viola, and the new terror on the water, Titus Andronicus' forbidding war ship The Lavinia.
Anthony Del Col
Everyone knows about Shakespeare right? That's what IDW's series is out to prove. Considering it's on it's 4th volume, you can't argue with it. A world where all of Shakespeare's characters are real and are at war with one another, with the eternal bard at the centre, it's been a critically acclaimed hit that many people have had the pleasure of reading. Naturally, it's completely passed me by!
From what I quickly gathered from the first issue and a quick bit of research was that there are several families at war, referred to as prodigals, all of them from Shakespeare's most famous plays. Each one of them seeks to posses the man who created them, or rather his quill, which has the ability to rewrite the world they all live in.
We open with Cesario the pirate in mid battle with another ship. Though there is a lot of action in the comic (fitting enough) the real clash is one of personalities. Cesario and his first mate Viola are lovers that want drastically different things and when they come across several captives, one of them Juliet, it throws their dynamic into even more turmoil.
Cesario, despite being a flamboyant showoff, wants to settle down and retire from the life of piracy, whereas Viola sees returning to land where she would lose her freedom and be burdened with having the role only as the good housewife as a fate worse than death. Juliet's appearance in their midst along with the crazed Orthello's means that Cesario's dream is closer to fruition and he is happy to throw his lot in with one of the 'prodigals' if it guarantees he can achieve it.
Overall, it was a quick read, even if it's one that doesn't make much concessions to new readers of the series. I gathered what was going on thanks to my knowledge of Shakespeare's work, even if Del Col and McCreery's words lack some of the spark of the great bard himself. In the same line as the writers, Belanger's art does a lot to give a theatrical feel to the proceedings. But overall I was left feeling the impression of being slightly non-plussed.
Lets see where future issues take us.
Cover image courtesy of IDW Publishing.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.