The Royals: Masters of War, Rob Williams and Simon Coleby

The year is 1940. As the Blitz destroys London and kills thousands, the Royal Family looks on. But in this world, the only people with special abilities are Royalty, and the purer the bloodline, the greater their abilities. So why don’t they stop the carnage with their powers? A truce between the Earth’s nobles has kept them out of our wars—until now. When England’s Prince Henry can take no more and intervenes, will it stop the planet’s suffering or take it to another level?

Writer Rob Williams (Judge Dredd: Trifecta, Low Life, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and Daken) and artist Simon Coleby (The Authority, Judge Dredd: Year One and Trifecta) team up to bring you this epic of World War proportions. History will be transformed in a way you’ve never seen before. [VertigoComics.com]

This is a title with the action/drama mix I was looking for. It’s also the second war based comic I’ve read lately. But, this is not quite the dark ironic trip that was The White Death. It’s a comic set in World War II with a “superhero” twist; what if only people who were royalty and nobility possessed super powers? Rob Williams answers this question in the setting of London, 1940.

I admit, my recollection of all I learned about WWII was a mixed mash of random facts and names (i.e. Churchill, Axis of Evil, Hitler, Germany, Allies, 1939-1945, Battle of Midway, FDR,). So, when Williams started mingling some of the actual history with a few “upgrades” I could pretty much follow and appreciate the inclusion of some little known facts; little known to me anyway, like the lend-lease agreement the U.S. had with the Allies.

In fact, the style of the story is so matter-of-fact and the plot makes so much sense (to this geek) that I’m sort of afraid it might confuse the children, but then again this is a Vertigo title and not for those under 17. Williams doesn’t get into specifics of each noble’s powers (which I’m thankful for due to the ‘time’ constraints), but there are some gory and magnificent displays of just what those powers can exact.

I had fun with this one. The art of Simon Coleby and coloring of JD Mettler was as important as the plot in making this book a must have. The Warhol-esque color splashes mixed in with the stately colors of royalty and armed forces give some of the covers and frames an endearing pop art edge.

The planes, the boats, the explosions, the flyboy British princes with goggles, and Churchill’s cigar were all very cool. I just liked looking at the pretty pages at first, honestly. Then the story got so intriguing, suspenseful, and outright sinister that it made me plow through, resolving to stare at the pretty pictures in deeper detail later.

My opinion alone, buy it.

*I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review is not for pay and is my opinion alone.

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