The idea of mythology leading back before there was a nature of history (written that is) is an interesting conundrum. The balance of what society necessitates as the norm has shifted over the millennia depending on the structure of belief. “Zarathrustra Book One – The Lion That Carried The Flame” [Richard Marazano/Europe/60pgs] rests in an ideal of a matriarchal dominated society that fueled the idea of business and a monotheistic structure. The story takes place in the area that now occupies Iran. The texture of the gender perspective contained in the story is also a pertinent one. The beginning of this take of a monotheistic transformation speaks to a man looking to escape his past and living a balanced future. His past though follows him as a scourge led by a supposed manevolent God. When the army following this icon ransacks his desert town, it kills everyone. Our soldier saves only himself and the lead female ruler in the city that looks upon him as fodder. They escape into the desert. But the Army continues to search for one who has been marked. While there are textures of Aslan in the representation of the entities, the archetypes are true to form and the art reflects this without overindulging in its tendencies yet giving a sense of space and reflection. The story structure is told as a parable as the older soldier is now telling his story to his son. While this is only the first book, it’s point of view is sound but also resolute and focused giving the story a sense of will.
By Tim Wassberg
The perspective of what origin stories are usually pertains to superheroes in what creates their mythology but the texture is that real people and normal people always have their origin stories and will continue to do so. “Irons” [Tristan Roulot/Europe/147pgs] uses its perspective and, while creating an anti-social anti-hero, the reality of his reactions and problem solving give an interesting credence to his story. The initial construct works quite well since it establishes our main character’s strengths, weaknesses and motive but also his psychology. Irons is a man created by his pain. He is an engineer by trade and did bridge demolitions in Afghanistan but now works in the private sector on bridges. One night as he is traveling to Montreal, but he gets stuck in New Brunswick during a snowstorm and happens to witness the destruction of part of a large bridge. Stuck in the town and initially considered a suspect, he becomes both part of the investigation but also a hindrance and revelation to the town despite rubbing them the wrong way. His relation to the local police investigator is the best part of the graphic novel both because of its brutal honesty but also in the fact that it harks to the real human psyche. The story plays real and the art in many ways, especially underwater and in the night, really underlines this. The resolve is both logical but also effective for the story. In an age where everybody thinks the protagonist has to have a superpower, simple human ingenuity sometimes is all one needs.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of a secret school in order to make the idea of adventure become real tends to function on a basis of say “The Skulls” or Captain Nemo. However if it can connect to the texture of the youth and also be global, it takes on a different dynamic. With “The Corsairs Of Albigaides” [Fillippi & Liberge/Europe Comics/58pgs], the alliance of almost pirates and national security blend with the origin story of agents who through a series of tests have to show and exhibit their problem solving abilities as well as stamina. There is a nice cross section of male and female charm and can do even though this is set back at the turn of the 20th century (as in the 1900s). The progression moves on the basis that there is always lost treasure to be discovered and that this will indefinitely fund this secret society that works under the auspices of Her Majesty. While some of the art and creation points gives the graphic novel a illustrious hero boost of sensibility, it feels a tad forced. However there is moments of grandeur especially on the bow of a large ship with young industrialists ready for battle. Alas, it is only a short blink before they are returned to London to be given assignments. Granted the way they both get from their initial university and then get back to Central London Underground is quite neat say on par with the hidden Hall Of Magic in “Harry Potter”. This introduction, however fanciful, doesn’t really move the stakes on with any vengeance or persistance. It is more used as a primer for the next adventure which hopefully delivers on its promise.
By Tim Wassberg