The Royals: Masters of War is the latest new series from Vertigo; and it’s from Rob Williams, who wrote that wonderful series that I love, Miss Fury (sarcasm). Anyways, what’s in store for us with this comic? Is it good?
The Royals: Masters of War #1 (Vertigo)
The setting is England during the 1940s in the midst of World War II. The Axis is pushing closer and closer to England and many of its citizens and soldiers are dying horribly. A member of the Royal Family, Prince Henry, can’t stand it and wants to go out there to make a difference. Why? Because he has the power(s) to do so.
He’s also very angry as this solider just found out.
For a first issue, writer Rob Williams does a very admirable job at getting the audience into his tale. The story is set up well, with a flash forward to hook the audience and the rest of the issue featuring events that lead up to it (well, it’ll probably be awhile before we get back to this opening if I had to guess).
The characters are all given interesting introductions and we are given some insight into how each of them work, with the exception of Princess Rose who could use some more fleshing out. The conflict at hand is engaging and the decision that Henry comes to makes sense given how everything was setup in the issue and how others viewed the current situation that country was in. Williams also dives into the explanation behind the characters’ powers and a bit of brief history behind them (the story does slow down at this point since all of that information is just shoved into two pages).
The issue is basically just a setup issue, but it’s good at that for the reasons listed. The audience is properly introduced to the characters, story, and backstory reasonably well here. The rest of the writing is solid with decent pacing (besides the walls of text in the middle), good story structure and flow, decent dialogue that adds to the characters (there are some parts that are stilted though, like when the father is introduced), good conflict and themes, and a decent cliffhanger to boot. There is plenty to like here when it comes to writing.
The artwork by Simon Coleby looks very nice in general. His characters are nicely design and drawn, though some of the guys have similar faces and mustaches that could make them easy to confuse at points. He’s got a great sense of scale, energy, and detail to his work (like the opening spread of Henry jumping out of the plane during the bombings). The imagery is striking, like during the war parts, and good at conveying the tone and mood for the scene. It’s genuinely good work and I do hope to see how does when he draws more action oriented scenes.
Is It Good?
The Royals: Masters of War #1 shows a lot of promise here with a great introductory issue — we’re given solid story setup, characters, tone, and setting. I’m looking forward to checking out the next issue and see where the comic goes from here. I’m hoping this proves to be a very enjoyable time.