The Royals: Masters of War by Rob Williams – issue 1 (spoilers)

The Royals: Masters of War
a six issue mini-series

Published by Vertigo 12th February 2014

Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Simon Coleby
Colorist: JD Mettler
Letters: Wes Abbott

Cover: Coleby & Mettler

Rob Williams is well known to fans of 2000AD scripting the likes of Low Life, Ten Seconders and a number of Judge Dredd strips. You can read my review of Judge Dredd: Trifecta for example. You can also see a Preview of his Creator Owned Project, with the artist D’Israeli, Ordinary. Others will recognise him for Ghostrider or Punisher.

Simon Coleby is also well known to 2000AD readers, though not so recently. He has illustrated such titles as Judge Dredd, Low Life and Rogue Trooper (Friday). Internationally he is known for Death’s Head II and Punisher 2099.

This is a 6 part miniseries set in an alternate timeline, taking us through 1940 to 1945. Where history is rather similar on the surface it seems, except the Royal Families around the world are all superheroes, only The Royals.

We start in 1945 in a bomber above Berlin with Prince Henry of Great Britain about to jump out of the plane without a parachute. He is looking for someone, who he intends to kill.

Page eight takes us back to 1940, London. Prince Henry is with Rose, his sister. We find he is apparently as sensitive chap and he feels guilty that the commoner fights while The Royals sit it out. King Albert seems more concerned he didn’t hide in Canada and the Prince of Wales seems to be all about the partying.

Henry and Rose go out into the City of London leaving the party behind. What they see, the suffering of the people, drives Henry to breaking the treaty that is keeping The Royals out of the war…

A very interesting first part. Rob Williams knows a thing or two about writing well paced scripts.The introduction with action is exciting and then the switch in pace gives us the details we need to know, partly as exposition from one of the non-Royals. Then back to action again.

The characters are slightly two-dimensional at the moment but I expect we’ll see more to them as the story progresses.

The art is great with very well thought out lighting and colours. The double page spread on pages 2/3 is lovely. War torn London at night is as bleak as it is red.

Excellent first issue. Looking forward to issue 2.

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