|The influence of the Fates is foreshadowed early in Toil and Trouble, |
written by Mairghread Scott featuring art by Kelly and Nichole Mathhews.
|Cover to Toil and Trouble #1|
by Kyla Vanderklugt
|Yes, there are boiling |
cauldrons, as seen here in
In the interest of creating a circumstance during which the spoiled future king Malcolm can strengthen his military credentials, the sisters hatch a scheme led by alpha-Fate Riata, to place Malcolm in a battle that allows this growth. A key aspect of this plan, however, requires that brave Macbeth be cut down in his prime. Though recently returned from exile because of her own past indiscretions at the story's start, Smertae deviates from the plan when it is revealed that she has followed Macbeth since his birth and disagrees with the scheme as laid out. That is the initiating action that set's in motion the events of Toil and Trouble. These narrative nuances periodically dovetail into the more familiar plot, though by the series' final issue, titled "Act 6," an alternate conclusion of sorts reaches fruitiotn that ameliorates the tragic element of the The Tragedy of Macbeth.
|While Lady Macbeth is once |
again "unsexed" this time she
has a push from Fate in Issue #3.
The deceptive actions of key characters throughout the story, most notable Lady Macbeth, is now attributed to the Fates possessing or taking on their appearance at key moments, thereby more actively guiding the chess pieces toward their ultimate station: first placing Macbeth on the throne and then correcting their error by setting up Malcolm as the successor. As the story unfolds there are significantly more allusions to the Scottish setting of the story, especially in developing the "old ways", as represented by the Fates, and their slow recession out of the culture.
The visuals, by Kelly and Nichole Mathhews, includes nods to our characters' Scottish background, and utilizes an appropriately earthy color palette. The figure-work and structure of pages is laid out in a clean style, suggesting an appreciation for mango on the part of the artists. The characters are especially expressive, suggesting an animated storyboard, but not so much that it negates the necessary tone of the books. Fortunately, the words and pictures mesh in a very complimentary fashion that evokes medieval Scotland in a way that is accessibility to modern comic book sensibilities. Of course, as one would expect, the comic book medium allows for more fantastic visuals than could have even been imagined in 1606 England, when Macbeth was written. Were this a movie, the "special effects" quotient would be significantly higher, which is why this medium is so wonderful at visualizing that would be cost prohibitive to produce in another.
In my own collecting of comics, I am much less married to the characters and continuity of the Big Two, so Toil and Trouble fit extremely well in my budget and, more importantly, my desire for well-crafted reading with a literary bent. (Let's face it, Marvel's Deadpool Killustrated from 2013 will only carry you so far.) It also strikes as making a solid addition to a school library (it is available as a trade paperback). Valuable as both an secondary read, accompanying The Tragedy Macbeth, as well as providing hard evidence for suspicious minds of the vibrancy of Shakespeare's cultural relevance.