Art by: Andy Belanger
Ink Assist by: Adam Gorham
Colors by: Shari Chankhamma
Lettering by: Chris Mowry
Edited by: Tom Waltz
Published by: IDW
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
In this issue of Kill Shakespeare the shit hits the fan.
I’ve been a fan of this series from the start but I don’t think this team has ever produced an issue that was as much a nail biter as this one. Last issue left off with the pirate captain Cesario and his ship’s crew about to be overtaken by another vessel, the Lavinia. In this chapter we learn a bit about why the captain of the Lavinia is so feared by many on board. Apparently Lucius, the master of the Lavinia, has been rumored to be a cannibal and is known for not being the greatest of hosts to any individual he happens to capture. The Lavinia also happens to be a superior vessel that Cesario and his crew know they cannot outgun or outrun and a pall of doom begins to hang over the crew of Ceasario’s ship the Boreas. Despite Cesario’s assurances to his crew that he has a plan doubt begins to settle in among his comrades as to whether he can protect them all and that is when things begin to go terribly, terribly wrong.
As I stated earlier, I’ve been reading Kill Shakespeare from the beginning of the series and the comic has always been a really great read but I believe this issue stands out as one of the best of the whole series. The storytelling in this issue is possibly some of the best I’ve seen during the whole run. I was very impressed with all aspects of this issue. It can be very hard to pull off a sense of dramatic tension and fear in a comic book and the Kill Shakespeare crew manage to do it brilliantly well here. Part of Ceasrio’s plan to escape the clutches of the Lavinia actually involves having his own ship “run silent” for a bit. This actually ends up with this issue having a full four pages of comic book story telling that has no dialogue at all. Artist Andy Belanger does a masterful job of drawing out the scene and building a sense of dread as the Boreas attempts to deftly sneak past the Lavinia. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a silent sequence pulled off like this in a comic and if anyone had any doubts as to how much of a kickass artist Beleanger is these four pages should eliminate all of them. Belanger is a truly talented artist and his work is rendered in the best tradition of the craft of comic book storytelling. He may not be as flashy as some artists but he doesn’t need to be. His stuff is absolutely solid and while I’ve always been impressed with his work my respect for him reached another level after reading this issue of Kill Shakespeare.
Of course Belanger wouldn’t have been able to apply his craft so adeptly if he hadn’t had a great script to work off of. Conner McCreery and Anthony Del Col turn in a script that just kept me on the edge of my seat. Each part of the story is extremely well paced and builds to a terrific climax. When the tension finally does break in this issue and acts of betrayal begin to reveal themselves some great action sequences play out that round out the comic and make it a perfect smorgasbord of comic book writing. While many may see Shakespeare as a bit too cerebral for their tastes, McCreery and Del Col keep their book accessible to readers who love intrigue and action without dumbing the material down. This issue has a Shakespeare meets the final act of Wrath of Khan feel and if you don’t think that’s a good thing then I just don’t know about you.
The creators of Kill Shakespeare should be proud of this issue. It really is one of the better issues of the series. Connor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Belanger keep cranking out a comic that’s as entertaining as the works it is inspired by and is one of the better comic book reads out there right now.