The Royals: Masters of War #1 Review

The Royals: Masters of War #1 Review

Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Simon Coleby
Colorist: JD Mettler
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Review by: Josh Gillam

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book, being drawn in solely by the awesome cover art. After reading it (7 times in a row), I couldn’t be happier that I happened across it. It’s one of those books that makes you mad when you get to the end, because you have to wait to read the next issue. This book delivers a solid storyline, backed with beautiful artwork.

The story is set in World War II and is centered around a royal family in London, England. It doesn’t take long before we discover the big kicker; this royal family has super powers. When the book starts, we see a prince named Henry jump out of a plane, without a parachute. The artwork on the full two page panel which shows the prince jumping from a plane was the first hint for me that I was going to love this book.

After the prince lands and has an unpleasant meeting with an unknown individual, we rewind back to a party in London. We see the prince from the beginning of the book, as well as his brother and sister. There is some background given that explains that everyone in the royal bloodline has always had super human abilities and would use them whenever they were at war. However, their powers are now kept quiet and they no longer get involved with any wars.

Henry and his sister head into London after an air raid by the Germans and see all of the destruction it resulted it. This clearly upsets Henry and when the Germans come back for another round, the pilots see him flying with them… but without a plane. He then proceeds to tear apart the planes and blow them up with laser eyes. That’s right, laser eyes. Now I ask you, if a British prince blowing up Nazi planes with laser eyes isn’t awesome, what is? The book ends with Henry’s father revealing that because of his actions, there will be some unintended consequences.

Rob Williams put together one fantastically amazing story. In a book that has “Masters of War” in the title, you expect to see plenty of action, and you definitely get it. The action scenes are very satisfying and well written. The scenes without any action and serve to provide background and character development are as equally well done. Scenes with background info and character development can tend to get dialogue heavy and boring, but Williams inserted an element of drama in these scenes that keeps them quite entertaining. The characters are very enjoyable, even the ones that aren’t lovable. One example of that would be the self absorbed elder prince that is first seen drunk and with his pants down. Throughout the entire book, Williams has laid out the foundation for what promises to be a thrilling series.

Simon Coleby’s artwork in this book completely blew me away. His work on the cover alone was enough to get me to buy this book. Once I started reading it, I was completely shocked at how impressive each page looked. Every single action scene in this book is breathtaking. On my second “read” through the book, I didn’t actually read any of the words, I just stared at all the artwork. The coloring, by JD Mettler, gave me chills in certain panels. Specifically the ones where Henry and his sister were in London after an air raid. They have a dark and disturbing tone that I absolutely loved. Even if the story doesn’t sound appealing to you, you should buy this book for the artwork alone.

This book immediately moved The Royals into my top 5 favorite series, and we’re only one issue in. Rob Williams and Simon Coleby’s work on this was so overly awesome, that I will now buy anything I see with their names on it. I was overly impressed by JD Mettler’s work as well. If you like anything awesome, then you’ll love this book.

Story: 5/5
Artwork: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Josh Gillam is the creator and writer for the webcomic/comedy project, Cynical Stew. You can follow him on Twitter at @Cynical_Stew

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