You know the old bit about how royals are so important because they are God’s chosen to rule over their people? And the purer the blood, the more reason they had to wear the crown? Well, in the world of THE ROYALS, Vertigo’s new book, these two things are true. The royals get superpowers because they are God’s chosen. They can fly, they have super strength and they seem to be invulnerable, or as the Tick used to say, nigh-invulnerable.
This is the story of the King of England, who has decided that the Royals should not get involved in World War II. Just let the proles do the fighting while the important people sit back, party and enjoy some fine cognac. Actually, it’s not his story, it’s the story of his son, Prince Henry. For his own protection, the royals have been lying about his (and his sister’s) abilities, saying that they don’t have any. However, that’s not true, and Prince Henry is sick and tired of sitting by the sidelines. He’s seen the disaster of Hitler’s bombs. He’s seen the corpses and the unfortunate survivors. He wants to do something about this, so without telling his father, he launches himself into a battle in Berlin. And though his ultimate antagonist never leaves the shadows, could it be that his two-fisted adversary is Adolph Hitler himself?
This is a fun little book, because no writer would actually take the time to put this story together. Authors often have ideas that are just a little too silly or outlandish, and they hold on to them over years, sometimes decades, trying to figure out a way to get away with a story that no one else would think of because, well, come on. Either writer Rob Williams has major balls, or he’s actually figured out a way to make this story come off in an acceptable fashion. It’s probably the latter, because not only does a story that should be a throwaway tale come off not as silly, but as a serious work. Not only that, but a SUBVERSIVE work. One of the best scenes is when Lt. Col. Lockhart, who basically polices the royals, is teaching his new second-in-command, Squadron Leader Travis, the ropes. He explains that all of these bastards “could easily destroy every single Nazi plane that dares pass the British coastline. But, of course, they choose not to get involved.” This is kept from the British public, who is by and large dying out there, suffering because their leaders decide to let them fend for themselves. To prove a point, Lockhart asks Henry’s cunty brother why the royals don’t get involved. The response: “Well … I’d have thought that was blindingly obvious, Lt. Colonel, even to a man of your blatant lack of breeding, but I’ll happily spell it out for you. I am a prince. My life is extraordinarily enjoyable, and the gullible proles shoot their little guns and get blown to bits on my behalf. It’s quite a marvelous social system.” Yikes.
Luckily, Williams has teamed up with Simon Coleby, who is a wonderful artist for this story. He gets the genteel cuntiness of the royals’ lifestyle, but at the same time, he can tackle the gruesomeness of war, even as Prince Henry sails past a gunner trapped in a flaming, crashing plane, screaming for help. As Prince Henry flies through the air with the rest of the warplanes, he looks like an evil, angry Superman, ready to kick ass, take names and then piss all over those names.
This book has the makings of greatness in it. Too bad it’s only a mini-series. In the coming issues, it should be interesting to see Prince Henry and Hitler in a superhero battle with each other.
THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR #1
Written by Rob Williams
Illustrated by Simon Coleby
Published by Vertigo