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The pre-eminent love story takes a futuristic approach as 1821 Comics tackles a literary classic. A tale of star-crossed lovers and family feud explodes across the comic book world in an adaptation that is sure to excite new readers. Written in a modern language style that has an easier flow than old Shakespearian English, the artwork is similarly modern but no less beautiful. The fight scenes are higher flying and more action packed than ever before.
The Special Hard Cover Collector’s Edition is a beautiful solid landscape novel with included artwork and storyboards, while a softcover is also available. This is not only a comic book but a masterful retelling of this epic tale, created by Terry Dougas and Stan Lee himself. With this new interpretation of the classic comes writing by Max Work and artwork by Skan Srisuwan.
The few sample images available on the web are completely representative of the level of detail present on each and every page of this comic book. This comic is available for pre-order through 1821 Comics and is in stores January 25th.
However, to expect that this comic would be a facsimile of the original Shakespearian tragedy would be a mistake. The one disappointment, which can be expected, is that dialogue is much shorter, with some of the famously spoken lines removed for story pacing’s sake.
Additionally, the comic book medium allows for variations in storyline since this takes place in the future where science has cured many current day illnesses. In particular, the plague has no presence within this comic, whereas in the original, it plays a pivotal role within the lives of Romeo and Juliet.
Another difference is the usage of weapons, for which the original story had swords. Various movie adaptations have before parted from the original, in particular the 1996 adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio, which featured a handgun called a Sword 9mm. This comic version of Romeo and Juliet features little usage of bladed weapons and instead uses guns – lots and lots of them. Still, a lot of the combat is done hand to hand with punches and kicks.
Juliet herself is a striking representation of feminine grace and beauty. Her appearance is almost too angelic in quality, all light colors and shapes. By contrast, Romeo is dressed in a darker motif signaling in some ways his own bio-mechanical changes and reflecting a lack of light in his heart. Together they see an opposite equal in one another. Of note is the one line in Old English that Juliet does speak, calling out to Romeo from her balcony.
The Montagues are one half of Verona’s military and are specifically bio-mechanically altered so that their limbs are replaceable if destroyed. They were the first of the military during the war with the outside world to use enhancements to combat regular forces. Montagues are built to last and are hard to fight.
Benvolio is one such character and though he is a peacemaker of sorts, he still fights and is the one injured during the escape from the Capulet ball. On the other hand, the Capulets are genetically altered for superior speed and flexibility. With eerie bright blue eyes and white clothing, these are not your ordinary citizens of Verona either.
Tybalt, for example, appears to be a much more flexible fighter with kicks and punches that showcase fluid movements – even on comic book pages. Additionally, within the House of Capulet there exists the idea that Juliet is pure and that she should continue the Capulet bloodline.
Juliet’s engagement to the Count Paris still has significant meaning and aside from the warring families, remains the driving force that brings Romeo and Juliet together in this comic. Paris himself, in his duel with Romeo during the final moments of the play is a critical character in the storyline for Romeo and Juliet.
His actions greatly affect the life of Romeo and Juliet, placing him at the forefront for the title of most hated antagonist in this re-imagined comic epic. A few pivotal moments of time in this comic were all the difference between life and death as the actions of Count Paris provide a small unfortunate twist at the end.
In a world much like our own, riddled with hatred and strife, the love that was shared between Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest love stories of all time. No matter how fleeting, their story features the classic themes of light and darkness, of hate versus love. Fate and chance play their part as well in a story where the passage of time literally means the difference between life and death.
Though different than the original or any variant since then, Romeo and Juliet: The War remains an excellent comic and a great read for fans.