Toil and Trouble #2 (Archaia/BOOM!)


CREDIT: Archaia/BOOM! Studios

Rating: 4.5/5 – Behind the Scenes with the 3 Witches from Macbeth.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

The three wyrd sisters from Macbeth, commonly referred to as the Three Witches, have a long history in fiction.  They’re a popular set of characters riffed on again and again over the centuries, and this is one of the best riffs on the characters I’ve seen.  Not named in the Scottish Play, they have been given various names over the years.  In Mairghread Scott’s tale here they are named Smertae, Riata, and Cait (it’s interesting to note that Smertae and Cait are both associated with Pictish peoples that existed in the lands that became Scotland).

I have read Shakespeare’s Macbeth and seen it performed on stage many years ago, but the details aren’t anything I can easily call to mind except in the broadest strokes.  Since the action here follows the sisters behind, between, and in parallel to many of the scenes in Macbeth (much like Tom Stoppard’s Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead parallels Hamlet), knowledge of the play is helpful, but far from essential in following the story.

The art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews is gorgeous.  Their designs of the sisters is wonderful; each sister has a unique look, abilities, and a familiar that aids them.  The sisters move through the action but for the most part are invisible to the mortals interacting with one another unless they wish to be seen.  The page designs and various visual storytelling elements Kelly and Nichole utilize throughout the issue added a layer of enjoyment to the experience of reading the issue for me.

If you are a fan of Macbeth, getting this comic is a no-brainer, but don’t let an unfamiliarity with Shakespeare scare you away.  If you really feel like you need the context, click the Wikipedia Macbeth link and give it a quick read.  There.  You have the basic context.  More importantly, this is a fantastic story with something deeper going on in the interaction between the sisters that has me intrigued.  There are previous events and power plays hinted at and beginning to be revealed that add layers of context to the story, making the sisters every bit as interesting to me as Macbeth.  I love it when a writer takes background characters and puts them in the spotlight, Mairghread Scott does an absolutely magnificent job of that with this series.  I’m looking forward to the next 2 issue of the mini.  If you check with your store you may still be able to get #1, if not, the collected edition should be along in a few months.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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