When superheroes and the world wars get into the same context somehow, most buffs will associate to the Golden Age of Comic Books. Pictures like Batman hunting for nazi saboteurs in America or Superman wrestling enemy submarines come to my mind. These ancient popular entertainment pieces may strike us as naive and caricature-like, but they just reflected to the spirit of their age. Who knew that very late descendants of these patriotic comic books still appear in our days. The Royals: Masters of War is a six-part historical fiction comics adventure, which takes us back in the time of the biggest crisis of England in the 20th century.
On these pages, the Battle of Britain is joined by the members of the British Royal Family, and superhero-abilities flow in the blue blood. This post is a review of the first two published episodes.
|Hitler and Tojo are in trouble. Mr. pants on the outside of the 40s is teaching them a lesson (and doesn’t forget to encourage you to buy war bonds).|
What is in the blue blood?
In this alternate universe, flowing royal blood in your veins means having superhuman abilities, those were the source of the power of your ancestors. This power became title and was inherited generation after generation. The superhuman ruling class guarded the purity of its noble bloodline carefully for a reason and kept the newcomers out. This marriage practice lead to interbreeding and the unavoidable mental and physical degeneration. The exhausting and costly Great War had shattered the people’s confidence in the traditional ruling classes and social order. Several ancient royal dynasties like the Romanovs or Habsburgs fell victim to this turmoil.
|The East End in Flames. The Blitz, London, 1940.|
The British Royal Family: The House of Windsor had chosen to lay low and withdrew from public life. The heirs were declared as powerless for the public, and the king forbid them to use their powers ever again. The Windsors would have kept living their decadent lifes on taxpayers’ money and would have filled the pages of tabloids all right if the Second World War hadn’t happened.
The king returns and seizes the skies (SPOILER)
The young and naive blond prince Henry cannot stand the carnage outside and the suffering of the common people anymore. Instead of distributing tea and some blankets in a bomb shelter, he enters the raging battle above his own home, like his ancestors did in the times of peril. In a very early part of the storyline, we will meet a serious character flaw of his, but it only makes the prince and the plot more interesting. By the way, the story itself doesn’t follow the historical family tree of the Windsors; the names and characters are different.
When I’m writing these words, yet only two parts of the six were published, but I can tell that the major theme is the superhuman escalation of World War Two. The pictures are beautiful, not Jim Lee- or The Red Star-beautiful but they are pleasant to look at. The Royals: Masters of War comics come with the promise of being extraordinary. Superheroes and the old royal dynasties are a daring but ingenious combination (bloody hell, after the magic-enchanted Soviet empire, I’m laissez faire on the subject…), and I’m really looking forward to the next episodes.
|The pictures were taken from the resptective pages of The Royals: Master of War #1-2. Written by: Rob Williams. Artist: Simon Coleby. Publisher: Vertigo Comics|