Toil and Trouble #1
by Mairghread Scott, Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews
Sometimes, the characters at the start of Macbeth are forgotten in recounting the major events of the classic tragedy. The three witches who are the seeds that put every action thereafter in motion take up very little of the time in the tale. Here, Mairghread Scott with Kelly and Nichole Matthews take on the task of bringing those characters to life and retelling the story with a new perspective. The three agents of fate have very specific tasks to fulfill in order to serve destiny. Scott and the Matthews sisters open with the moments preceding the start of the play and add some really curious pieces from the outset.
A lot has been said about the mysterious trio that visits Macbeth and Banquo at the start of the tragedy. They are said to be representative of specific roles and that they are more devices or functions of fate than they are characters at all. Scott brings readers back to this world through these characters and presents them in such a way as to make very apparent just how much personality and difference there could be within this trio. Smertae, Cait and Raita are each well crafted and different from the other two. The book is narrated by Smertae and it is she who adds a very interesting twist to this first issue. There is a very strong challenge that Scott faces in using an existing work, needing to find a way to tell something new without betraying the very thing from which it comes. In this first issue, it is safe to say that she does an excellent job. There is a real balancing act she manages to accomplish, establishing a distinct world for this story that does not betray the previous work. The book manages to be successful, not only in story, but in its visual presentation as well.
Kelly and Nichole Matthews provide so much of the energy and tone of the story through the layouts and color choices used in this first issue. There is something very “storybook” about the look of Toil and Trouble. The colors are enchanting and coupled with the line work and design of the setting; the issue has a very captivating visual component.
Not only does Scott provide each of the sisters with their own unique personalities through their dialogue and perspectives on their roles, but the Matthews Sisters are able to capture those differences with the design of Smertae, Raita and Cait. Over the course of the issue, readers get a real sense of the trio. Scott reimagines Macbeth in such a way that this piece of the story feels natural to what readers may already know. More impressively, Scott manages to create some real intrigue through some subtle moments with Smertae as she hints at a previous bit of fate that may have befallen the Macbeth family. After each being given very clear instructions about how to see to it that certain actions be put into motion such that the future of Alba is protected, one of the sisters acts of her own will, thus forever changing the future. The way in which the story reaches this conflict and establishes its plans for the arc are rather well done.
Revisiting old works of fiction to add a new twist or view can be entertaining. The creators of Toil and Trouble look to do more than have a bit of fun in an old world. After the first issue, they are certainly on their way to adding a completely new and well-crafted part to a classic piece of literature.