Vital Publishing released the fourth issue of it’s Royal Descent title just recently and they’ll be following that up with a collected trade soon too, so it seemed like a perfect time to catch-up & revisit a book that already impressed.
The basic premise sees the members of the Royal Family pitted against each other in a Hunger Games-like world where appealing to the masses has become the main focus of the media. Twenty four hour coverage of every battle and kill is beamed into homes throughout the UK and there’s no holding back or slick editing to prevent the brutal sights appearing for all to see.
The back-drop for the story is a UK that’s embroiled in riots & political turmoil in the aftermath of key events that see food shortages, short tempers & people power spilling over into the streets as survival in the outside world becomes just as key a component to the story. The TV show interludes between the battles captures a real sense of chaos and quick hits as they switch from the latest goings on in the quest for the crown and the celebrity world outside. The addition of live updates along the bottom of these sections has become a crucial element to highlight just how messed up the world has become.
The cast of fifty Royals is beginning to thin out as the story progresses but the range in character types is an intriguing element of the books success. John Farman mixes everything up and the fallout from the events seems to work the viewing public into a frenzy for more. Part parody but part modern day commentary, the first four issues are a blur of events that could all be covered under a “not-too-distant-future” banner with a clear focus on a wider message being tackled.
Peoples morality and their apparent reliance on the media for ALL their information and as quickly as possible gives an interesting point of view for where we are now with our approach to media, politics and celebrity culture. Controversial in it’s first outing the collected edition adds more layers to the story from John and while they are very subtle tweaks here and there, it all adds to improve on a title that was already one of the best reads around.
John Howard’s art goes from strength to strength and it’s not until you see the collected edition that you fully appreciate the progress that’s been made. Grand in scale with some impressive scenes of rioting and aggro it really comes into it’s own with the close-quarters combat and the in-your-face problems that exist between the Royals themselves……maybe more truthful than we know. ‘Anarchy’ features in the volume one title and there’s not a more fitting description for it as it embodies a new-age punk vibe to it that challenges the establishment head-on by going after it’s main figure-heads and forcing them to fight for our viewing pleasure. Probably better than a 10/10 in this collected form if I’m honest……so go get one as soon as you can.
You can get hold of Royal Descent #4 at Glasgow’s City Centre Comics or at next months Edinburgh Comic Con (15th & 16th April). As an added bonus for the release of the trade there are two pages of art up for grabs with a raffle being run for anyone who buys a copy at the Edinburgh event – no-brainer….go get one.