Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Brett Weldele

In this graphic novel, Antony Johnston takes Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' and updates it, setting it amidst the organized crime world of modern-day London.

Julius is a crime boss, running the most powerful of the 'companies', and looking to unite all of the companies under his rule. Brett, Julius's close friend, and other 'gov'ners', decide that Julius's reach is beyond his grasp, and gun him down. From there, things take the predictable route, as the different bosses turn on each other, or descend into paranoia, culminating in a Scarface-like battle in a ritzy mansion.

Conceptually, the transfer from ancient Rome to modern England is a very appropriate one; however the writing is often stiff, as the characters seem to flit back and forth between contemporary speech and Shakespearian oration. It makes some scenes read tortuously stilted.

Weldele's art has always been a bit of an acquired taste. I loved his work on The Surrogates, but found this earlier effort to also be a little stiff in places. This is a book that is almost six years old, and I'm glad to see that both creators have surpassed it in their more recent work, although it does showcase their creativity and their ingenuity.

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