By the Pricking of my Thumbs, Something Wicked this Way Comes

Kill Shakespeare #1

How ’bout this for high concept: We start out with Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, mad at his uncle for killing his father and marrying his mother, just like Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet kills Polonius by accident, gets banished from the country, gets sent away by ship with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern — all just like the play. Except not everything is just like the play. Hamlet is having dreams about these three witches who keep pronouncing prophecies, the ship is attacked by pirates, and after he gets knocked overboard, he wakes up to find himself in a strange country ruled over by a hunchbacked monarch named Richard III. Richard claims that the land is tortured by an evil wizard named… William Shakespeare. Richard and the witches don’t need Hamlet to kill Shakespeare — just sneak into his hidden dwelling and steal the magic quill he uses to write his stories. In exchange, the witches say they’ll bring Hamlet’s father back to life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely twisted concept. You may get the most out of this if you’ve got a good grasp of Shakespeare’s works, but so far, most of what I see is fairly familiar stuff. Plus you get Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern fighting pirates. There’s a lot to love about that.

Secret Six #20

I’m a bit leery to spoil this one, ’cause it’s quite good. But let’s set this up. The Six have been out on one of their typically bloody-minded jobs. They check in with the horrible old guy who hired them, and before he pays them, he gets a phone call, then hands the phone over to Catman. The guys on the other end of the line say, “Hi, we just attacked your ex-lover, Cheshire, and have kidnapped your son, and hey, we’re going to kill him, no matter what, but how ’bout this — for every one of your friends you manage to kill in the next five minutes, we’ll let the tyke live for another year.” After that, there follow several very, very tense pages where Catman glares at his team, and the rest of the Six, realizing something funky is up, glare back. What happens after that? That would be too much of a spoiler.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s very, very good. The first seven pages are some of the best, most suspenseful pages you’re going to get to read in comics. The rest of it is pretty good, too. So go get it already.

Anything else? Have I mentioned the Lubbock Comic Book Expo? You remember it’s gonna get started tomorrow, right? I’ll be there for at least part of it — hunt me down and say howdy.

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