writers: Conor McCreery and
Anthony Del Col
artist: Andy Belanger
his father and angry at his usurping Uncle Claudius, Young
Hamlet feels lost. Thankfully for his spirits, he has a
boon companion to stand by his side as he ponders his next
course of action. One thing remains certain to Hamlet: he
must save his father's soul. And the good King Richard III
has promised that he will help in that task.
is, of course, that good King Richard III isn't actually
good, but one of the worst best villains in all of Shakespeare's
plays. And that boon companion? That would be Iago, likely
fresh from having manipulated Othello the Moor into murdering
his true love. Adding in the unseen Scottish King Macbeth,
this terrible trio drives the hapless Hamlet forward to
find a wizard, the source of all their sea of troubles,
and by opposing end them.
That would be
a wizard of words, and quite possibly even their creator.
Somewhere in London he sits, scratching out lines with a
magic quill. Who he really was, historians will argue for
centuries. Only one thing is certain - Hamlet must Kill
If you missed
the first issue of this romp through the wilds of Shakespeare's
37 plays, you need to pick it up along with issue #2, out
on Wednesday the 19th. Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
have taken a concept that maybe shouldn't have worked,
but absolutely does.
they remember that the reason Shakespeare's plays have lasted
is that the characters are absolutely great. Their motivations
are nigh-operatic. And their struggles, even when psychological,
still seem epic. Gee, you put it that way, they sound like
trying too hard to draw you in, because McCreery and Del
Col already do a great job, more than aided by the strong
clean art of Andy Belanger. The artist has a field day creating
a wide range of Shakespearean costuming and looks, with
each character standing unique without looking ridiculous.
It's easy to
see why someone might be fooled by Iago, and Belanger shows
us a villain who is absolutely human in his evil. Richard
III could be a king out of Disney, if not for that withered
arm, which thanks to him being a drawing and not an actor,
actually looks right. And oh, Hamlet, it's obvious you want
to do the right thing, if only you could understand what
If you're wondering
how all these characters (and more) could cross over, I'll
admit it's a bit of a stretch to create this Crisis on
Infinite Old Globes. But the creative team doesn't so
much violate Shakespeare's narratives as carefully walk
in the cracks of them. Hamlet finds himself having this
adventure between Acts 4 and 5 of his play, and really,
what kind of good villain would Iago be if he hadn't found
some way to 'scape the hangman's noose after Othello?
that's just for the people already hooked on Shakespeare.
In reality, Kill Shakespeare works as a straight
up adventure story, full of action, intrigue, betrayal,
and I've been promised, love. Also a whole lot of Jacobean
gruesomeness, as Richard III may be only slightly more stable
than the Joker. The language only occasionally dips into
being a throwback to Elizabethan English, usually when quoting
directly from one of the plays.
IDW has a hit
on its hands, and be aware that the creative team did plan
an extra month's hiatus between issues 2 and 3. It was a
marketing strategy in case they needed to build word of
mouth, to allow for readers to jump on board before the
series got too far along. It's a sound strategy. Except
that Kill Shakespeare is so fun, it's a shame that
we have to wait an extra month before the next cast member
In the meantime,
re-read the issues we have. Then rent Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern Are Dead, to remind everyone that Shakespeare
never has been quite what he seems.
Shakespeare wrote a lot of sequels, as history provided
them. But this guy was so popular he got his own spin-off,
which most historians agree was funnier than Fish and Joanie
Loves Chachi combined.