A disgraced knight. A princess trapped in a ruined castle. It’s a familiar story. Only, this time, what if the princess shouldn’t be saved? What if she’s there for a reason?
Translated from French, NBM Graphic Novels presents Darkly She Goes from the creative team of Hubert and Vincent Mallié—a dark fantasy epic about family legacy, reputation, and redemption. The story begins with the Arzhur, a knight long since fallen out of favor who spends his time drinking and fighting in between taking whatever job will put coin in his pocket. When three strange, old women approach him with a job, Arzhur is intrigued by their promise—rescue the missing princess of a neighboring kingdom and regain his honor. It is the opportunity he has waited for.
However, upon rescuing the princess, Arzhur learns that her exile was self-imposed. The young woman is filled with dark power from her mother’s inhuman bloodline. She fears the damage she might cause her kingdom as well as well as the risk of becoming a pawn in the power struggle between her parents. With her guardians slain, and Arzhur sworn to defend her, she must find a new place of safety. But the princess’s history is full of lies and the path to safety is not unclear. As she and Arzhur draw closer, their desperate search for redemption may not be enough to shelter them from the truths of their pasts. As war rekindles, ruin bears down on them from every direction, with the princess caught in the middle and many bloody corpses scattered across two kingdoms.
Hubert is undeniably a writer who understands the fantasy and mythological traditions this story emerges from. Familiar elements take a unique spin as the adventure moves across two kingdoms, through forest, field, and city, in a story that captures epic scope and a deep emotional core in a single volume. Where some graphic novels struggle to capture a novel’s-worth of narrative in a limited number of pages, Darkly She Goes delivers events that span years, incorporating politics and fantasy alongside more personal storylines—all with the elaborate detail and complexity readers of the genre have come to expect. There are a few key story beats that falter in their delivery, and the plot ultimately ends in a familiar place with few surprises. However, Hubert has nevertheless crafted a sweeping tale with lots of dark fantasy adventure, flawed characters, and complex themes.
As compelling as the story of Darkly She Goes may be, it is the art that truly shines. From the floods of shadowy vermin summoned by the princess’s magic, across the landscapes of two kingdoms, and into each emotional encounter that brings the heroes to the edge of either ruin or salvation, Mallié delivers consistent visuals that bring the story to life, echoing the style and imagery of classic fantasy tales that have come before. As witches leap unnaturally across the kingdom or Arzhur and the princess Islen confess their pasts by firelight, Mallié renders the emotional, the fantastic, and horrific of the journey in rich and sometimes stunning detail. One of the joys of epic fantasy is the vastness of the world, and this one comes to life in Mallié’s hands.
NBM recommends this title for mature audiences and with graphic violence, sex and nudity, and mature themes, that rating feels accurate. It’s nothing mature teens couldn’t handle, but it’s a book aimed at readers of adult fantasy. Audiences need to be ready for the darker elements and themes, and also to not expect anything groundbreaking for those familiar with the genre—but with those caveats, this dark fantasy story delivers a complex narrative with rich visuals that’s worth taking the time to explore.
Darkly She Goes By Hubert Art by Vincent Mallié NBM, 2022 ISBN: 9781681123134
Publisher Age Rating: M NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+) Creator Representation: French
In Layers: a Memoir, Pénélope Bagieu, the author and illustrator of the Eisner-winning book Brazen, explores the complexities of her youth with grace and wit. As adults, it is often tempting to view our past through a lens of cynicism or jest, especially when recounting embarrassing fumbles or difficult mistakes. However Bagieu cares for her younger self with respect, and in doing so she also respects the mistakes and fumbles of her young readers.
The book opens with the story of a beloved pet cat. The story is told with wit and humor, and some tears. You can’t share stories of childhood pets without tears, but it is a strong opening to a book that explores the complex spectrum of emotions associated with relationships and moments from our youth.
I think the intended teen audience will appreciate the emotional honesty of Bagieu’s work. Some of the memoir focuses on her days as a teen or in high school, but much of it follows her life in and just after university. It explores the awkward growing pains of this time, with a sense of pride for her younger self.
The memoir is split into chapters. They might better be characterized as comic essays, each one exploring a different theme or relationship. The stories are based on diary entries from Bagieu’s youth and range from lighter moments recounting some embarrassing story from her past to darker depths related to sexual assault and broken relationships.
In a few chapters, she illustrates difficult moments from her teen years paralleled against devastatingly similar ones from her life as a young adult. Literally paralleled. The stories from high school on the left side of the page, while the ones from her 20s on the right. It is a poignant choice to connect themes that are recurring elements in the lives of many young women who may read this memoir.
The handling of sexual topics is well done. It is a sex-positive book that does not use sex as a cautionary tale but does accurately portray the ways that young adults must navigate it. In one scene a nurse at a Planned Parenthood gives Bagieu advice on sexual health. In that essay, she notes how eternally grateful she was as a teenager to get clear and honest advice about sex from an adult. At a moment that for many may be filled with shame and embarrassment, she was treated with respect and care. I believe that Bagieu holds the same level of respect and care to her younger readers in the way she discusses sex in the book.
The hand-drawn black and white illustrations are not crisp and clean. The style isn’t dissimilar from her work in Brazen. But unlike in Brazen, she took away the color and added some chaos to the lines. When we look back on the chaotic time in our own lives in the transition from teen to adult, this stylistic choice is incredibly appropriate. Black and white pictures, with harried lines, are also reminiscent of the thoughts (sometimes in words and sometimes through pictures) scribbled into the diaries of young people.
Many adults, when imparting learned wisdom to the younger generation, condescend and/or tell their stories through rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia and focus on the lessons. However, despite telling stories from 20 years ago, these essays feel fresh and relevant to today’s teens. She does not organize the chapters on passed-on lessons, rather she focuses on honest snippets of her life. The moments of struggle juxtaposed against levity are honest and refreshing.
I think it is a strong choice for collections serving teens, and I think many young people will see themselves in the pages of the book.
Layers was originally published in France in 2021, and has been translated to English by Montana Kane.
Layer A memoir Vol. By Pénélope Bagieu, Montana Kane, , Macmillan First Second, 2023 ISBN: 9781250873736
Publisher Age Rating: 14-18
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16) Creator Representation: French,
Translated from French by Aleshia Jensen, Camille Jourdy’s novel follows Juliette’s trip home from Paris to visit her more provincial family. She is also on a journey to revisit her roots and to handle her own growing, crippling anxiety and fears. While her family is delighted to see her, they do not actually pay any attention to her and her increasing vulnerability because they are busy with their own lives, issues, and family ties. Her family is complicated and entirely relatable and authentic to readers of this gentle slice-of-life graphic novel.
While the graphic novel is filled with people of all sizes and backgrounds the main characters are members of Juliette’s immediate family. Juliette’s older sister Marylou, a married mother of two children, has a lover, a man who works in a costume shop and visits her dressed as a bear, a wolf, a white rabbit, and as a ghost. They have lustful and joyful sex on Thursdays in the greenhouse in her backyard.
Marylou is happy with having an illicit affair, but nameless Lover Boy wants more of a permanent relationship. The sisters’ parents have been divorced for a long time but still torment each other each time they meet. Their mother dresses and behaves as a free spirit, taking on a series of younger lovers as well as painting large abstracts that are displayed in a local gallery. Their father, who Juliette is staying with during her visit, is the opposite, he is filled with self-doubts and convinced that he is developing dementia. Juliette’s grandmother no longer recognizes family members or has a reliable memory except when she reveals a long-kept family secret to Juliette.
The only non-family main character is Georges, the current tenant of the apartment where Juliette and Marylou lived as children. He is also a lost soul and someone seeking restoration and love in the local bar. His encounters with Juliette offer the possibility of a romantic closure for the two of them and the duckling they adopted but, sorry for the spoiler, this is not the direction the author takes the reader.
This is a novel of close encounters and careful observation of the setting, the people, and their relationships. It is done without judgment and the reader glides along with Juliette as she maneuvers through emotional and timeless passages of disappointment, mortality, and fading dreams to a place Juliette and Georges refer to, the “tragic dimension.” At the same time, it is also a novel filled with wonder, humor, and enjoyment for the reader.
Jensen’s translation from the original French presents, with sharpness and amusement, a natural cadence of family discussions. We can see, hear, and feel each of the individual characters in the town and they look and sound like members of a close-knit community anywhere. The point of view often shifts without warning from small encounters to larger ones but the shifts do not feel disjointed as the details in each of the panels slow the reader into a meditative state where moving from one situation to another seems natural and organic. This is a novel to be savored and not rushed in the least.
First published in French in 2016, Juliette is Jourdy’s eighth book, and her expertise is immediately recognizable as she is effective in control of the pacing, the panels, the color, the storyline, and her characters. Her illustrations are precise and filled with minute details of family and small-town life. These details are even more pronounced because of the simplicity of the background and the shortage of borders. Most pages are filled with simple vignettes, snapshots of the characters, their relationships, and environment. These busy pages are interspersed with full page drawings that are filled with deeper color tones that often indicate a change of tone or staging. A caveat for public library collections: there are numerous pages filled with Marylou and Lover Boy’s sexual encounters in the garden. These are tastefully done but I think some North American communities may not be as open as the French may be in their depictions of humanity in all their encounters.
The subtitle, ‘or, the Ghosts Return in the Spring’ is evocative and revealing by the end of the novel. It may refer to the rather humorous adventures of the ‘ghost’ hiding from disclosure or, more possibly, the ghosts of memory, family relationships, and our own selves.
Juliette or, the Ghosts Return in the Spring By Camille Jourdy Drawn & Quarterly, 2023 ISBN: 9781770466647
Publisher Age Rating: adult
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+) Creator Representation: French, Character Representation: French, Anxiety, Depression
David Simon’s Homicide, first published in 1991, is a classic of true crime and police reporting. It was adapted for television by Simon and elements from it also appear in his later series The Wire. As a fan of Simon’s television work, I had very high expectations for this graphic adaptation from Squarzoni. In some ways, it was exactly what I hoped. In others, it fell short.
The beginning of this adaptation includes a content warning that explains that, “we have remained faithful to the original narration and dialogue. At times the words in this book are offensive, but they paint an accurate portrait of life inside Baltimore’s homicide unit in the late 1980s.” More pointedly: this book contains racial slurs, transphobia, sexual violence, and murder. None of that is surprising considering the topic, but it’s worth pointing out to both librarians and readers.
In 1988, Simon was given access to the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit for a year of observations and interviews. During this time, killings were common, and that day to day work forms the most interesting parts of this comic. When the focus is on departmental procedures, intense workload, and the politics of policing, this book is enthralling. Amidst that, three detectives emerge as protagonists of a sort and their most heinous cases become the main plotline.
One of those plot threads is the rape and murder of an eleven-year-old, which causes enough outrage in the department and the city at large to spur a large manhunt. This, too, is engrossing. Unfortunately, this volume ends at the climax of the search, leaving that plot hanging for the sequel. I understand the use of cliffhangers to drive readership, but I wish that was not the case here. There is plenty left to adapt for future volumes, so I wish Squarzoni had resolved one of the major cases here.
The art is serviceable but unexciting. People are drawn realistically with a reasonable amount of detail, as are backgrounds when they are used. The coloring is a standout; most of the book is black and white with shades of gray, but red appears frequently to draw attention to the bloody aftermath of a crime scene. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot that makes the characters distinct visually and I had a hard time keeping straight who is who, which makes it difficult to keep track of the various cases.
Ultimately, this is a serviceable adaptation and a welcome addition to true crime graphic novels. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of something like From Hell, but it does have the benefit of being entirely true with no fictional elements to bolster the narrative. It reminded me of Torso in a lot of ways and should have a place in larger public library collections. However, it’s not a necessary purchase in the way the original book was. The best thing about Homicide is that it made me want to rewatch The Wire, but that’s not a bad thing.
Homicide: The Graphic Novel, Part One By David Simon, Philippe Squarzoni Art by Philippe Squarzoni Macmillan First Second, 2023 ISBN: 9781250624628
Related media: Book to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+) Creator Representation: French
Set on an alternate Earth that was invaded by an alien race that calls themselves “Agartha,” three teenage girls have been gifted with the ability to transform into powerful magical girls. Wielding fruit wands, they are nicknamed Flavor Girls by the humans they protect. A fourth, Sara, is selected after being chased by the Agarthians through the streets of her hometown. Sara decides to leave her friends behind to join the Flavor Girls to train at the Temple of Mother Tree. Mother Tree provides the power each Flavor Girl uses to transform and defend Earth. Unfortunately, Sara has a lot to learn about fighting and teamwork and not much time before she is called to defend one of the relics protecting Mother Tree.
After the Agarthians manage to steal one of Mother Tree’s relics, the story follows them back to their spaceship. The Agartha celebrate their success and explain why they are hunting down the relics while showcasing their structure of power and personalities. There is also a short side story included at the end that deviates from the main story, which follows the Flavor Girls as they investigate a missing person and discover a haunted house.
My favorite aspect of this graphic novel is that the backstory sequences are told without words and with muted colors, relying on the action portrayed in the illustrations. This is very successful when juxtaposed with the colorful main story elements. Locatelli-Kournwsky has paced the story well, with a good balance between character development and world building. Nothing feels extraneous to the plot. The inclusion of the aliens’ point of view in the second half of the book, gives the audience new information about the ongoing war and raises questions about why they originally came to Earth and their relationship to Mother Tree and the relics. I’m looking forward to seeing how both sides’ stories progress in volume 2.
This would make a great addition to any public library collection for teens (since it does contain the usual superhero violence, making it inappropriate for children’s collections). It would also appeal to teen fans of magical girl manga and anime and would be a fantastic diverse addition to superhero collections.
The epic story of Beowulf comes to life as never before in the incredible clash between a group of neighborhood children and one fun-hating neighbor in the graphic novel reimagining Bea Wolf from First Second comics.
The story of the ancient hero Beowulf battling monsters is a familiar one. Though at a glance, Bea Wolf appears to be a dramatically alternate telling, at the heart of this graphic novel the spirit of Beowulf’s legend lives on. For the children of a comfortable neighborhood, the mighty treehouse called Treeheart is a legendary place of feasting on junk food and freedom from the rules of adults. Passed from one child monarch to the next, the children maintain their riches of toys and sweets as they defend their borders against teens, adults, and responsibilities. It all threatens to fall apart when they draw the anger of a neighborhood adult named Grindle who wants to silence Treeheart once and for all. In this dire moment, a hero will rise. This is where the legend of Bea Wolf truly begins.
Told in epic verse, the ancient poem lives on in these pages, just with a few more fart jokes and modern references than were in the original. In place of all that gruesome death, Bea Wolf finds its tension in the struggle between youth and aging, between the freedom of childhood and the perceived dread of adulthood. The story is bursting with youth run rampant. Among other things, Beowulf is a story of mortality and Weinersmith reframes that in a way relatable and accessible for children who long to run free.
Bea Wolf also maintains some of the complexities of the original in other ways. Though the children are set up as the heroes of the narrative, there is a measure of recognition that Grindle/Grendel is just trying to live his own life in constantly-disrupted peace. Bea’s bosting is not diminished in this child form of the title character and there are shifting power struggles throughout, even as the children gorge themselves on candy and carve out their refuge from the larger world. As an introduction for young readers to Beowulf, Weinersmith follows up the story with readily accessible backmatter explaining the history and significance of Beowulf, providing a launch pad for further discussion and future learning.
Illustrated by French cartoonist Boulet, the art of Bea Wolf is a delight to look at. With cartoon stylings and fun energy, the visuals capture childhood in a larger-than-life fashion that perfectly fits the grandeur of the telling. At the same time, the pictures embrace the aesthetic of a medieval manuscript as well as the historical epic that inspired this volume. With chapter breaks, dramatic scenes of confrontation and revelry, and a keen understanding of what this reimagining is meant to be, Boulet brings together the best of ancient and modern illustrations to create Bea Wolf as a modern story of epic proportions. And with natural diversity woven throughout the various children that cross the pages, lots of children should have the chance to see themselves reflected across the story.
First Second lists Bea Wolf as being for ages 8-12, and this seems like an ideal audience. Even with the modern touches, the epic verse style of the writing may be a bit difficult for younger children to work through on their own. But for young readers willing to embrace an unfamiliar writing style, or for children sharing the book with older readers or educators, Bea Wolf is a lot of fun and has plenty of richness to delve into along the way. (There’s lots here to love for older readers on their own, as well.)
All in all, Bea Wolf is a highly successful reimagining of an ancient classic, making the story of Beowulf accessible and enjoyable to young readers without sacrificing the spirit of the original. It should make a great addition to any graphic novel collection for older children on up.
Bea Wolf By Zach Weinersmith Art by Boulet Macmillan First Second, 2022 ISBN: 9781250776297
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13) Creator Representation: French
Set in a steampunk world reminiscent of a fairy tale, Dreams Factory tells the story of Indira, a young girl working in the mines to help support her father and little brother. Unfortunately, she has fallen ill, so her brother Eliott tries to take her place, but is too short to be allowed to work. The mine’s owner, Ms. Sachs, overhears that Eliott can’t work and offers him a different job in her factory making mechanical insect toys. When Indira learns that Eliott and other village children have gone missing, she looks all over town for him. When someone finally tells Indira that her brother went with Ms. Sachs, Indira tries to confront this highly respected woman and finds herself arrested for assault. After escaping the police, Indira follows a mechanical insect into the factory and finds the missing children, who have lost their memories. It seems that the factory feeds on children’s memories in order to power the mechanical insects being produced.
The illustrations in this graphic novel are magnificent. The artist and colorists brought the world and characters to life so well that few words were needed to flesh them out. Many panels are devoid of speech bubbles, so the illustrations can appear in their entirety without interruption. I do wish there had been a little more description or explanation of how the mystical elements of the factory work exactly, or its origin. The climax gets very confusing, so something to help slow things down would help readers to better understand both what is happening and the characters’ motivations. Perhaps it makes more sense in the original French, but the English translation could have been longer to address these issues.
Although there is a small pacing problem with the plot, I still recommend this book be added to public libraries or collections that focus on splendid illustrations. Because there are heavier topics of child labor, some body horror (limbs replaced with mechanical versions), and on-page death, this story is more suited to teenagers.
Dreams Factory By Jerome Hamon Art by Suheb Zako Magnetic Press, 2022 ISBN: 9781951719524
Publisher Age Rating: 14 and up NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)
Capstone Publishing’s imprint Stone Arch generally focuses on popular chapter book series, like Jake Maddox and spin-off graphic novel series like Far-Out Fables. I was a little surprised to find a French import in their offerings and it turned out to be a series starter that will definitely attract readers who like beautiful fantasy art and stories.
Nola, living a lonely life with her father after her mother’s death, is quietly thrilled to receive a special music box on her eighth birthday. What she doesn’t expect is to be carried away through the music box into a mysterious land, the fantastic world of Pandorient. She’s been called there by old friends of her mother’s who seek her healing power, and Nola is determined to help now that her mother is gone. As she tries to help her new friends save their own mother, suffering from a mysterious and deadly illness, she is fascinated and frightened by the strange creatures, magical experiences, and marvels of this new world. Along her journey she will discover hints about her mother’s mysterious past, warnings of the possible dangers of this new world, and the possibility of new adventures and responsibilities as she inherits her mother’s legacy.
The art swirls across the pages in hues of pink, purple, and gray. Most of the humanoid women are exaggeratedly slender and elf-like, with Nola and the other children darting around them like tiny fairies. The men loom over them, huge and bulky, including Nola’s massive father and the Pandorient military. Pandorient’s various creatures have an intriguing array of body-types and personalities. There’s a fox-like villain, a huge purple creature with a beard of tentacles and massive teeth who turns out to be not quite as scary as he looks, creatures that look like moving plants or bushes, and anthropomorphized animals. Action explodes across the pages with exclamations, fights, and lots of running, dodging, and hiding, as Nola and her new friends follow their quest.
The first story doesn’t quite end on a cliffhanger, but there are definite issues left unresolved for the next titles in the series, including the hints about Nola’s mother, the militarized government and evil ruler, and the possibility of Pandorient itself endangering Nola. At a little over 50 pages, it’s a quick read, but the five books of the series were released simultaneously so readers can race through what appears to be the entire series. Fans of Kibuishi’s Amulet and those who enjoyed other European fantasy imports will be delighted with this new series and the attractive art.
The Music Box Vol. 1: Welcome to Pandorient By Carbone Art by Gije Capstone Stone Arch Books, 2023 ISBN: 9781669034681
Publisher Age Rating: 8-10 years NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11) Creator Representation: French
Best friends Grace and Lola talk about everything together—and lately, they’re talking a lot about love. Relationships and boys are a mystery to both girls, but they are curious,. They decide to launch a project together to find out more: the Love Report.
In a shared notebook, they record everything they learn as they interview people who might have a useful angle on love: the school gossip, a couple who just started dating, two female friends who are feuding over a boy, the pretty girl who all the boys like, and the tough girl with a bad reputation. Lola even gets up the nerve to talk to the boy she likes! But heartache is coming for both girls. Will their friendship get them through? And will they ever understand love?
This story features close friendships, school drama, and family issues. Grace is a little jaded and skeptical, with a string of short relationships behind her, while Lola is less experienced and more hopeful about romance. The rest of the cast—mostly their classmates, with occasional appearances by their family members—brings other backgrounds and personalities to the mix. The story is set mostly at school and at various character’s homes, with a few forays into other parts of the unnamed city where it takes place.
In all the talk about love and relationships, the story acknowledges, but does not thus far actually show, the existence of LGBTQ+ people. For instance, Grace suggests that the boy who keeps dodging Lola’s attention might already have a girlfriend, or “maybe a boyfriend.” Characters take it in stride when the possibility of same-sex dating is mentioned, but we don’t actually see any of it happen.
This book collects the first two volumes of The Love Report, which were originally published in French as Coeur Collège (BeKa is a two-person writing team based in France). The illustrator is Italian. There are a few traces of the original French, including characters whose names have changed: for example, whenever Lola’s name appears in the illustrations, and at least once in a speech bubble, she is called Linon. There are also a couple of places with possible missing words or other small editing slips, but nothing big enough to cause confusion.
The illustrations are rich with detail. The delicate line art and varied but low-intensity color palette give a sense of cozy softness that is underscored by a lot of the visuals: fluffy hair, puffy or slouchy jackets and sweaters, rumpled beds, even poofy autumn trees. The style is realistic, but with clear manga influences. The characters are lively and expressive.
While the book has zero nudity and doesn’t show anything more sexual than a few kisses, there is discussion of one girl having a reputation for being “easy.” The words “bimbo,” “slut,” and “bitch” appear once or twice each, though the latter two are used by unpleasant characters and clearly not meant to be viewed as acceptable. There are some tough family situations, including parents who fight and a verbally abusive stepmother. There is also one scene of mild danger when a man chases and threatens our protagonists before being scared away.
With sympathetic characters exploring a topic of near-universal interest, plus a cozy and colorful art style, this book will appeal to fans of realistic fiction and school stories. Hand it to older readers of Raina Telgemeier, Victoria Jamieson, and Shannon Hale’s graphic novels, especially if they are open to an art style with more of a manga feel.
The Love Report Vol. 1 By BeKa Art by Maya Hippo Park (an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers), 2023 ISBN: 9781662640407
Publisher Age Rating: 10 and up
NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16), Tween (10-13) Creator Representation: French, Italian Character Representation: Assumed Black
Reimagining a classic manga and anime series that introduces a fresh storyline yet paying homage and preserving the spirit of the original can be a daunting feat, yet Jérôme Alquié successfully achieves this vision in Space Pirate Captain Harlock. He adapts basic source material from Leiji Matsumoto’s rendition of the iconically eye patched, skull and bones emblazoned cape donning pirate, sailing across space with a ragtag crew of misfits en route to save the earth from an unidentified global threat.
The story is set in 2977, paralleling the original series. A wave of unexplained snowstorms ravage the earth, throwing the climate off balance. Teams of scientists launch research expeditions to uncover the mystery behind these phenomenally violent blizzards. Clues lead to the discovery of a mausoleum buried beneath the icy depths of the arctic regions. As the mystery deepens, a trio of mutant sisters appear, somehow collectively connected to unique elemental forces of nature like fire and ice. They have engineered a masterplan to undermine the stronghold of the Mazon—an ancient race of female aliens hibernating upon the earth for millennia.
This version of the Captain Harlock mythos presents a faithful rendering of the original both in character and set design along with core characters such as the impulsive driven Tadashi, loyal lieutenant Kei, reticent, observant alien Mimay, model building hobbyist and expert shipwright Yattaran, and on planet earth, little Mayu, daughter of a deceased friend whom Harlock has sworn to protect. Narrated in part as an epistolary series of journal entries from Harlock to the spirit of his battleship Arcadia, the plot unfolds through episodic chapters. The crew ventures through space in search of answers to combat the imminent invasion descending upon the earth. Rendered in noir style within the reaches of a deep blue outer space, Alquié also integrates brightly lit landscapes of a snow-covered earth. Intermittent expositional summaries fill in the backstory for new readers through intricately composed montages, highlighting key events and characters strategically arranged in a collage-like style.
Exquisitely illustrated panels packed with crisp, colorful character and set designs hearkening back to the original series will appeal to past and present otaku fans alike. A bonus gallery of variant covers and character sketches and descriptions occupy the back matter. This brilliantly crafted story takes place alongside the setting of the original and introduces a new alien threat, this time stemming from the earth. Space Pirate Captain Harlock offers a fresh, deftly reimagined take on a classic manga series that will attract younger as well as familiar fans in the science fiction canon of Japanese animation.
Space Pirate Captain Harlock Vol. By Jérôme Alquié, Leiji Matsumoto, , Ablaze, 2022 ISBN: 9781950912544
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18) Creator Representation: French, Character Representation: Japanese,