Royals Masters Of War #1 Review

by @WednesdayComix on Feb 17, 2014

The British royal family becomes embroiled in the tragedy of WWII when its youngest prince refuses to stand idly by. Rob Williams & Simon Coleby explore superpowers & "The Divine Right of Kings" in their alternative history.

The Good

I really enjoyed reading this book. Simon Colby's art was visceral. Panel to panel, he and colorist J. D. Mettler captured the period with style from the clothing to machines of war. A perfect example of this was his two page spread of what seemed to be a squadron of Royal Air Force, Avro Lancaster, long-range heavy bombers flying over Berlin during a bombardment. February 1945 saw some of the heaviest bombing raids by Allied Forces on Berlin and other German targets during the war. The scenes at the beginning of this book were both thrilling and frightening. In those tense moments Rob Williams would introduce readers to Prince Henry of Wales (shown on the eye-popping cover drawn by Coleby and Mettler).

As prince of the House of Windsor, he was born with special powers. These he had to keep hidden due to an age-old treaty between royals across the world to no longer get involved in the "wars of commoners." Henry was disturbed by this and refused to stand idly by as he watched his beloved country destroyed by the Nazi bombing campaigns. Williams craftily weaves together the prince's backstory and the history of the royals from the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution to why a treaty was made in the first place and the frustration that regular folk have with the elite. The dialogue was also witty, and the monologues (mainly Prince Henry at the beginning and King Albert at the end) exemplified a passion that some writers struggle to emote. Williams and Colby have a winning premise with "The Royals: Masters of War." Moreover, Vertigo's addition of a preview of "American Vampire: Second Cycle" by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque should be a treat to readers looking forward to the return of that series.

The Not So Good

As the cover suggests, "Royals" is suggested for mature readers. Images of war and bloodshed will prove to be shown throughout. There is a particularly scene where a Nazi soldier is cut in two at the torso as Prince Henry speeds into Berlin with the bombardment as cover. Accordingly, some readers might have a problem with suggestive material such as the one where Henry's older brother, Prince Arthur, was caught in a dalliance with two women. His pants were down. Although it was his back side that was shown in the panel, readers should probably prepare for other scenes that may have nudity in the books to come. What is clever about how readers are introduced to Prince Arthur, though, is that it provides insight into his character. He's prude, stuck-on-himself and elitist. Moreover, he and Henry seemingly have a conflict with one another that is sure to be drawn out in the books to come. One more thing: the whole "jumping out of an airplane without a parachute" scene may seem very familiar to readers. Captain America does it in a scene from the trailer for the new movie "Captain America: Winter Soldier."

The Bottom Line

"The Royals: Masters of War" no. 1 has an interesting premise and was an enjoyable read. If you like reading alternative history and/or historical fiction, this Vertigo book is for you. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 / 5
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Royals Masters Of War #1
Released February 12, 2014
Writer Rob Williams
Artist Simon Coleby
Cover Artist Simon Coleby

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