Kill Shakespeare is back! Kill Shakespeare: The Mask of Night begins with a violent fight between pirates as Cesario, his lover Violeta, and others battle an unnamed pirate and his crew for their treasure–which turns out to be the refugees from Prospero’s island.
It is a strange and bloody fight, featuring a giant who uses a bear trap on a chain in battle, a heart torn out, and various other gore. There’s a high likelihood that Shakespeare would have enjoyed it greatly. The focus in The Mask of Night is on Cesario and Violeta, the newcomers to the Kill Shakespeare world, and a bloodthirsty couple who look set to continue the confusions and conflicts that the other Kill Shakespeare lovers have enjoyed and, indeed, continue to enjoy: Hamlet has neither forgiven nor forgotten past events. In fact, all of the survivors are suffering the aftereffects of Prospero’s Island. The Mask of Night. Titus Andronicus, who has haunted and hunted them at least since Tide of Blood remains a threatening presence just off the horizon as McCreery and Del Col expand their Shakespearean remix to include ever more characters and threats.
There are interesting touches here, as they separate one character into two roles and continue to show the underlying role of the bad in this universe: Cesario uses the phrase “for Will’s sake” at one point. And yet, the man himself remains absent, and it remains to be seen if his intervention in the past has done the characters or the bard himself any good. McCreery and Del Col are also to be commended for continuing the balancing act between modern and Shakespearean English: The largely opt for contemporary English but sprinkle in a careful selection of verb endings and pronouns to give the work the appropriate flavor without bogging down in an attempt to directly copy the bard’s work.
Belanger continues to draw a varied cast of characters with differing builds and heights. His women in particular are no shrinking violets: Both Viola and Juliet have sturdy frames and look capable of fighting. Moreover, their armor fully covers them. Backgrounds here are kept scant, keeping the focus on the interpersonal drama, though when he chooses, Belanger can, and does, draw a magnificent ship in full sail on the high seas.
Recommended for fans of Shakspeare, high drama, lovers’ quarrels, and warfare.
Writers: Conor McCreery & Anthony Del Col
Artist: Andy Belanger
Ink Assists: Adam Gorham
Colors: Shari Chankhamma
Letters: Chris Mowry