To Be or Not to Be

Kill Shakespeare #2

Hamlet, exiled prince of Denmark, has been declared the Shadow King by Richard III and told that he alone is the key to destroying the wizard Will Shakespeare. They travel with Iago to seek Shakespeare’s hideaway, but run into Shakespeare’s supporters. They are subdued, and when Hamlet is out-of-hearing-range, Richard orders the village where the rebels were hiding burned to the ground. That evening, their camp is attacked by marauders led by an archer named Tamora, but Hamlet is hidden by Falstaff — but is he plotting against Hamlet, too?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Definitely enjoying this League of Extraordinary Shakespearean Characters concept — aside from how much fun it is to try to identify the various characters we run into, the storyline is just crammed to the gills with betrayals, deceit, and intrigue — perfect for a story based on the Bard’s most famous tragedies.

Joe the Barbarian #5

Joe is a kid who may be the prophesied savior of a vast fantasy world — or he might just be diabetic kid who needs a shot of insulin before he dies. After Joe, Jack, Smoot, and Zyxy make their escape in Zyxy’s experimental flyer, they get separated, with Joe and Jack alone facing a new menace. Either someone left the family’s front door open, letting a stray dog into the house — or King Death has released his monstrous Night Dog to hunt down and kill Joe. Is there any way to escape? Or will someone have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m really impressed by how intense this story is. Yeah, most of this is going on inside Joe’s head, but the nonstop danger in his hallucinations just helps remind you that Joe is actually in serious trouble — he’s home alone, in a very large house, with his medicine far away, and he’s got a medical condition that could kill him. Grant Morrison’s writing is still great, and Sean Murphy’s artwork is still outstanding. You’re reading this, aren’t you? Well, go pick it up!

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