Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life during wartime

The Royals: Masters of War #1 by Rob Williams and Simon Coleby with colours by JD Mettler and lettered by Wes Abbott.

As covered in a Megazine 345 article two of the Prog's creators venture out into Vertigo with a new series. It's super-heroes but with that 2000AD inflected flavour. The basic premise is that members of the European royal families have super powers but a pact prevents them using them in wartime. That is until world war 2 and the blitz when a young Windsor prince decides to take matters into his own hands. Once one royal has acted the doors are open for all the others to intervene.

Coleby produces some lovely artwork, particularly the scenes of the bombed ruins of London, and Mettler's colours are great. As for the story it may be too early to tell yet, which is strange when we have 22 pages of sequentials in a 32 page American floppy. 2000AD stories have to grab our attention in just 5 or 6 pages  but this longer format still leaves me unsure. It's also annoying that to have full page glossy ads, a 6 page teaser for  American Vampire and a bizarre 2 page spread of character design sketches for another comic called the Wake. Can you tell that I don't like current American floppies very much?

The first 8 pages of the story are a flash forward to a future clash between two powered individuals in the ruins of a Berlin church. And that's a problem, because it reminded me of the prologue sequence from Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith. Now that was probably OK when Zenith was buried in 2000AD's archive, but now it has been released in an overpriced  hardback and will soon be out in more reasonably priced trades, so the comparison is easily made and rather striking. This doesn't mean the Royals will be a bad series, it does show some promise. I'm just bothered by this early parallel.

It's an interesting concept, and it's from two of 2000AD's finest so for the moment I'm cautiously sticking with it for a few issues at least. Rob Williams knows what he's doing so it could well prove to be one of the very few US floppies I buy regularly! Or even the only one.

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