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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grandville. Bryan Talbot ( Script, Art & Book design). Jonathan Cape. (2009)

Utilising the story structure of a modern action film and beautiful art, Grandville is a hugely enjoyable adventure story. Twenty-three years after Britain has broken free of the French Empire after loosing the Napoleonic wars, a British diplomat is found murdered at his home. Detective Inspector LeBrock and Detective Ratzi follow the trail to Paris where they find themselves involved in a huge and deadly conspiracy. The action is fast and furious, the jokes are well placed and funny, the romance expertly handled and the climax explosive.Bryan Talbot manages all the required elements with great skill and an unerring eye for the telling detail.
The unexpected element in the story are the cast who are creatures with animal heads and human bodies, which allows Bryan Talbot to make some funny references to dogs playing poker and Snowy, Tintin's dog. These are happily inter grated very neatly into the thrust of the narrative so they do not impede or interfere with the action nor do they unduly call attention to themselves. The central conspiracy explicitly uses the attack on the Twin Towers in New York as a critical element in the plot. The very straightforward use of this event in the book allows Bryan Talbot make a point without sacrificing the story requirements to do so.
The art is simply gorgeous, the cast are all individual, with expressive features and body language, I particularly like a very contemptuous French fish headed waiter. Le Brock is a splendid action hero, mentally nimble, physically very strong, dangerous and determined. The rest of the cast are as villainous, beautiful, loyal and courageous as they should be. With great art on a solid story this is a superb comic.

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