Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

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Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby Red_Robin » Jan 31st, 2012, 10:58 am

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Romeo and Juliet: The War
By TFDutchman

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Two households both alike in dignity
In fair Verona where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star cross’d lovers take their lives

We all know the story of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but you’ve never seen it done quite like this. Stan Lee in partnership with 1821 Comics retells the story of Romeo and Juliet in a futuristic world and the result is nothing short of breathtaking. Before getting into the story (which face it, we all know it and we all know how it’s going to end) I really wanna compliment the artwork in this book.

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The artwork is by far some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. The kind of work that makes you feel as if it were all a real setting and makes you wish you could see it for real with your own eyes. The book opens with a beautifully drawn image of the planet Earth telling us how it’s a place we all know, but when you see the futuristic design of the city you quickly realise that though this is Earth it’s like a whole new world

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The book opens with a background story that lays the framework for the rest of the story. The Empire of Verona is at war and a brilliant scientist named Dr. Montague creates artificial DNA that when bonded to a host begins to replace their organs and parts of their body with metal and machinery. It is later on in the story that we learn that Romeo, Dr. Montague’s son, was the first in an attempt to save his life at birth. Soon Montague’s technology is used to create an army of powerful cyborgs, however not all are impressed by the technology. Another brilliant scientist, Dr. Capulet, finds that the mechanical nature of Montague’s artificial DNA makes them seem less human. I response Dr. Capulet discovers a way to dig into the human genome and naturally enhance the human body. Though not as physically strong as the Montagues, the Capulets are much faster and far more agile making them just as deadly with their pale skin, bright blue eyes and dark hair their only notable difference to normal people. Together the Montagues and Capulets destroy the enemies of the Empire of Verona, but they are natural born soldiers with a thirst for fighting. It’s hard to say who started it all, but in the book we see a simple bar brawl, over the idea of a Montague dating a Capulet, escalate into a violent war between the two sides. And just like a movie we’re hit with a beautiful title page and the story of Romeo and Juliet: The War begins.

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It begins with Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio out on the streets of Verona admiring a statue of the Montagues and Capulets together signifying their once great alliance. They are soon interrupted by Tybalt and his band of Capulets and it’s not long after a few insults that a violent brawl breaks out on the streets of Verona with innocent lives put at risk. Tired of the havoc that the Montagues and Capulets bring to the city and the lives of normal people that they threaten the Premier of Verona announces that the Montagues and Capulets are to be restricted within their own territories. The Montagues residing in the western part of the city and the Capulets in the east. Should any member of either faction be caught trespassing in the other faction’s territory, the penalty is execution. At this point we are introduced to Juliet, the daughter of Dr. Capulet who is planning a masquerade party. Dr. Capulet pressures Juliet into the idea of marrying Paris, a first generation Capulet (a Capulet born with natural enhancements instead of being made into a Capulet), as Juliet is also a first generation Capulet and it would keep the bloodline pure. Juliet rejects this idea and in her rebellious nature decides to wear her Grandmother’s wedding dress for the masquerade ball. Upon learning that the Premier would be making an appearance at the Masquerade Ball, Benvolio and Mercutio decide that they will disguise themselves in Montague "costumes” and attend the ball believing that Dr. Capulet may try to get the Premier on his side and turn the city against the Montagues. Romeo decides to go with them to do his best in keeping them out of trouble.

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At the Masquerade party it would seem as if Mercutio’s and Benvolio’s disguises work easily playing the part of Montagues disguised as Montagues. Dr. Capulet takes a moment to talk with Paris about to idea of an engagement to Juliet, but Juliet’s mind is elsewhere as she spots Romeo across the room and decides to get close to him thinking the idea of her hanging out with a person “disguised” as a Montague will annoy her father. They sneak away where their romance quickly blossoms, but Juliet is called away by her father. Romeo goes looking for her when he is ushered by Benvolio and Mercutio to leave. They’ve spotted Tybalt at the party and are afraid that they will be recognised from their brawl earlier. As they are about to leave Romeo spots Juliet as Juliet’s father announces her engagement to Paris. As they are leaving the Montagues are stopped by Tybalt and a fight breaks out when Tybalt shoots Benvolio’s arm off. Romeo helps Mercutio and Benvolio escape as he remains behind desperate to find Juliet. A classic scene is recreated as we see Juliet upon her balcony calling out, “Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou Romeo,” and Romeo in the streets below hearing her call his name climbs the building to her balcony. Romeo considered leaving, but heard Juliet calling his name and wonders if it were easier for her if he simply left and says that if she tells him to leave he will simply leave. Instead she asks him to chase her. Romeo chases Juliet as shes shows off her natural Capulet abilities and they end up admiring the city from the top of the tallest building. They talk about her “engagement” as she didn’t agree to it and her father simply answered on her behalf. Romeo teases the idea that she can’t marry Paris if she is already married to Romeo. Juliet states that she would never marry a man she hasn’t kissed before and that is easily fixed.

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Romeo visits the Friar who agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet in secret. The book continues to show off the futuristic setting when Romeo pulls off some of his own metallic skin to create a ring for Juliet. Back in Montague territory Benvolio and Mercutio are repairing damage from their brawl with the Capulets when Tybalt and his crew show up. There are insults and Benvolio and Mercutio tease about the guys “dressed up” as Montagues at the masquerade ball before finally admitting it. There are threats to inform the Premier of the Montagues trespassing, but at the same time the Capulets themselves are trespassing. Mercutio and Tybalt decide to settle things with a fair fight with no weapons between the two of them. The fight is ruthless with both showing off their enhanced abilities and strengths when Romeo arrives trying to break up the fight and tell them about his marriage to Juliet. Tybalt takes advantage of this and stabs a metal pole through Mercutio’s heart, a weak spot and the only organ unaffected by a Montague’s artificial DNA. In a rage Romeo exacts revenge and kills Tybalt resulting in yet another Montague and Capulet brawl. In the aftermath the Premier declares that when Romeo is found he will be executed.

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Upon hearing the news of Tybalt’s death and plans to execute Romeo, Juliet goes to the church where she finds Romeo. They spend the night together and make plans to run away and leave the city. Romeo leaves that very night planning to return for Juliet in three days time. It is decided that the Capulets will never stop looking for Juliet if she simply disappears and in order for her and Romeo to escape she will have to die. The Friar knows of a Montague surgeon who developed a surgical implant that can give the appearance of death. Her heart will only beat once per minute and she will appear dead for 72hrs before waking up in time for Romeo’s return. Juliet undergoes the procedure and she is found dead in her room under the claim that the stress of Tybalt’s death was too much. The Friar then asks for Benvolio to deliver a letter to Romeo explaining the situation, but before he can get out of the city Benvolio is attacked by regular citizens of Verona stating that though he is not in Montague or Capulet owned territory, no Montague is welcome in their streets. He fights them off, but they subdue and kill him. Romeo returns and upon learning that Juliet is dead and her funeral is on that day, he heads to the Montague armoury where he and an army of Montagues arm themselves to the teeth with weapons.

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They crash Juliet’s funeral and an all-out war erupts between the Montagues and Capulets. Romeo breaks away from the fighting and finds Juliet’s body in the church placing a kiss on her lips when he is shot by Paris. In return Romeo kills Paris and in his dying moments goes to lie down beside Juliet. It is at this point that Juliet wakes up and watches Romeo as he dies. The fighting outside the church comes to a halt as everyone watches on TV screens as Juliet, declaring her love for Romeo, pulls the pin out of a grenade and places it between them as she lies down beside him and kisses him saying that they promised that they’d never be apart again and that they never will. The church is torn to pieces by the explosion and everyone is left speechless. The Friar approaches Dr. Montague and Dr. Capulet telling them about the love Romeo and Juliet had for one another and the peace they hoped to bring between them. Out of their deaths, Montague and Capulet agree to create a better and brighter future. As the Friar walks away from the ruins of the church the images pull back frame after frame to reveal Romeo’s and Juliet’s hands amongst the rubble still clasped together.

Now as I said this is a story we all know, but what makes it a truly amazing book is the visuals and artwork. It makes you wish this world was real and presents a story told time and time again in a whole new way. By the time you’re done reading you’ll wanna flip straight back to the first page and read it all over again and it just goes to show that even hundreds of years later, Shakespeare’s stories can still hit all the right spots. It’s one of those stories where you just sit there wishing that you lived in this beautiful world (or at the very least see it turned into a movie). If you see it on a shelf in a store, or see that it’s available from your favourite online retailer, don’t hesitate for a second to add it to your cart. You won’t regret it.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, just watch the trailer narrated by Stan “The Man” Lee:


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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby CROD » Feb 12th, 2012, 10:29 pm

Looks and sounds cool but I can't stand another Romero and Juliet story. Too many versions of it already.

Great write up TFDutchman.
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby MaxSchreck » Feb 12th, 2012, 10:30 pm

I am sorry ... but I don`t understand why this comic is supposed to be such a good read ,,,


Now as I said this is a story we all know, but what makes it a truly amazing book is the visuals and artwork. It makes you wish this world was real and presents a story told time and time again in a whole new way.


Of course the artwork is wonderful , even though it reminds me more pf concept arts of a japanese rpg than real american comic art...but is this really the only reason I should buy this book ? Sorry , but for me , a comic book also has to have a good story to tell . When the artwork is bad , but the story is good the art can still grow on me over time ... but when a book is written bad the artwork can`t redeem the story at least for me .
If you look behind the pretty fascade , whats left ?
A generic recycling of a truly well written work of fiction in a boring unimaginative sci fi world .


Now that I have finished ranting ...can someone please bring on some good arguments why this book is great so I can bring myself to read more than just the introduction and the end of this review ?
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby TFDutchman » Feb 13th, 2012, 2:11 am

MaxSchreck wrote:I am sorry ... but I don`t understand why this comic is supposed to be such a good read ,,,

Now as I said this is a story we all know, but what makes it a truly amazing book is the visuals and artwork. It makes you wish this world was real and presents a story told time and time again in a whole new way.


Of course the artwork is wonderful , even though it reminds me more pf concept arts of a japanese rpg than real american comic art...but is this really the only reason I should buy this book ? Sorry , but for me , a comic book also has to have a good story to tell . When the artwork is bad , but the story is good the art can still grow on me over time ... but when a book is written bad the artwork can`t redeem the story at least for me .
If you look behind the pretty fascade , whats left ?
A generic recycling of a truly well written work of fiction in a boring unimaginative sci fi world .

Now that I have finished ranting ...can someone please bring on some good arguments why this book is great so I can bring myself to read more than just the introduction and the end of this review ?


Trust me, the artwork isn't the only good reason. It's very well written and the story is great, I was simply drawn in by the amazing artwork that it really needed to be emphasized.

The simple twist and variations that have been made to the classic story make the story well worth reading again. Some may see it as a recycling, but it's cleverly written. In essence it's still Shakespeare's original story, and seeing another variation may turn people off, and honestly if you can't get past the idea that its just another boring retelling and you can't get yourself out of that mindframe, it's likely you never will. It may be a story redone several times before, but you need to look at it like something new.

Having seen Batman with Keaton would you then be put off seeing Batman Begins with Bale? Seeing Spider-Man with Maguire, will it put you off seeing it with Garfield regardless of telling his origin all over again? Slight changes, but its the same story we saw in Maguire's 2002 film. Same stories, different actors, but with unique spins put on the stories. How many retellings of a Superhero's origins have we seen and yet every time we still grasp at it with open hands. Slight details may change to make it feel different, but it's still the same story every time. Superman from the destroyed Alien world of Krypton sent to Earth. Batman, billionaire who witnesses his parents murdered, turns to crime fighting. Spider-Man, bitten by a radioactive/genetically altered spider. The story never changes much, just retold in a slightly different manner. Avatar was nothing more than a story we've heard a dozen times before in movies like Dancing with Wolves, Pocahontas, Fern Gully, but James Cameron slaps a CGI coat of paint on it and adds 3D and it's the most successful film ever. That's what The War does, it tells the same story but at the same time feels surprisingly fresh despite that the changes made to the story are close to minimal. If you're sitting there constantly reminding yourself of all the other variations, you likely won't enjoy it. Walk in with a fresh mind and you'll put it down having thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of it.

This isn't the first retelling of the story, and it sure as hell won't be the last, but this is Romeo and Juliet for our generation that will reignite people's love for Shakespeare and remind you why he was such a masterful writer when his work from 400yrs ago is still being retold for every new generation to experience and enjoy. And it is a very, very enjoyable experience. If you don't like Shakespeare, this may just end up changing your mind.
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby Ain_SR » Feb 13th, 2012, 9:40 am

What's this doing here at Batman's "home"??
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby DarkFlux » Feb 13th, 2012, 11:19 am

Ain_SR wrote:What's this doing here at Batman's "home"??


How about you read the premise of Tresure Chest Comics before you critisise?
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby BobGun » Feb 13th, 2012, 3:55 pm

Great read, TFD!

Personally, I think it's a good idea when a GN uses a classic story and gives it a different feel, regardless of how many times it's been told. While I've never been a huge fan of R&J (unless we're talking Dire Straits), I could see how a fan would love this.
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby CROD » Feb 13th, 2012, 5:36 pm

Well TFDutchman almost sold me on it. lol

Ain_SR wrote:What's this doing here at Batman's "home"??

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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby whoisthisfatty » Feb 13th, 2012, 7:58 pm

Although Romeo and Juliet has been well and truly done to death, this does look like a great adaptation! I'm definitely thinking about picking it up
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby Maultest » Feb 13th, 2012, 8:37 pm

Hmmmm I am ready romao and juliet in school. Tragic ending
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Re: Treasure Chest Comics #11: Romeo & Juliet - The War

Postby TFDutchman » Feb 14th, 2012, 12:48 am

KHRIS wrote:Well TFDutchman almost sold me on it. lol

Ain_SR wrote:What's this doing here at Batman's "home"??

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I love that little faceplam :lol:
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