Publisher: Black Hearted Press
Writer: John Farman
Artist: John Howard
Release Date: 6th November 2013
First off I should say that I am somewhat pro-Royal. I know it’s not what you’d expect from me, but I actually kinda like them. And while I’m not exactly at Daily Mail or BNP-level devotion, I do have an admiration for them. And when I say I’m pro-Royal, it’s just the way I’ve been brought up and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do understand when people hate them and brand them as ‘rich idiots’ who do nothing for us and to be honest, I do see their point most of the time. But the fact is, Lizzy is the largest landowner on this blue ball we call home, she’s one of the richest people on it, she funds 620 charities to date and she was in the freaking army (YES SERIOUSLY, LOOK IT UP!) so to me she’s a hell of a woman, and that’s even before we get to Philip!
So when John Farman of Black Hearted Press told me about this new comic way back in April, I was definitely excited to read it. He pitched it to me as ‘Battle Royale but with the Royal family’. And to be fair, anyone hearing that sentence would be intrigued, I don’t care who you are or what allegiances you hold, this is a premise that’s going to make you stop and think. The fifty men and women who are in line for the throne are put on an island, given weapons and told to kill or be killed. Absolutely Genius. The family has so much history, and we all know the rumours of bad blood and conspiracy behind the gates of the palace. In that moment, I simply knew I had to read this book.
Recently the book has been given a lot of press, most notably from the Daily Mail, but what they seem to not be understanding is that what Farman is saying is not that we should round up the Windsors and put them on an island but rather “What would happen if we did?” He’s not outright condoning the massacre of 50 people, one of whom is the bloody Queen (that would be treason!) This book is purely satire and utterly fiction. The book is more about us than the royals. I reminds me of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, these terrible things are happening but it’s just a reflection of us. It’s not about what’s happening, but rather about our reactions to what’s happening.
Last night saw the official book launch for Royal Decent and Farman said something very true; Television is our new religion of the country, more people care about that than anything else in their lives, it is our church and our teacher! A great thing he said was “If they brought back hanging, there would be an audience” and he is right and that’s more what this book is about rather than simply killing the line of succession.
The book itself is very good, Farman’s writing is sharp and to the point. It’s a great first issue where everything is explained, somewhat unnecessary I thought – although I’ll concede that if you haven’t seen Battle Royal or The Hunger Games it could conceivably be hard to follow – and is a great start to what I feel will be a terrific series. And, from what I was told last night, John has just scratched the surface of what is to come.
John Howard provides the artwork and although it’s not my favourite style it’s still very well done, being gritty when it needs to be and smooth and sharp when it doesn’t. He also captures facial expressions better than most comics I’ve read, showing some characters with a murderous tint in their eyes, with kind smiles and innocence on other, younger character’s faces
Overall, I liked this book and look forward to seeing where it’s going to go. Like I said, I thought there was a bit too much explanation, but now that it the groundwork has been laid, the rest of the series should be a good thrill ride
I’d give it 7.5 out of 10. Well worth reading.