Thursday, July 16, 2009

Graphic Novel Review: Ythaq - The Forsaken World

Graphic novel readers tend to fall into two camps: fans of American comics, and fans of Japanese manga. There is, however, another major source of quality comics that has until recently been largely ignored in the U.S. – namely, France.

To correct this oversight, Marvel Comics has entered into a partnership with French publisher Soleil to bring some of the best and brightest works of French comic art to American shores. Of the joint Marvel/Soleil ventures to come out so far, the most enjoyable has been Ythaq: The Forsaken World.

Written by Christophe Arleston and illustrated by Adrien Floch, Ythaq tells the story of the survivors of the ill-fated space cruiser Comet’s Mist after it crashes on a mysterious uncharted planet. Astronavigator Granite Welgoat (recently demoted to barmaid), ship’s maintenance worker Narvarth and snooty upper-crust passenger Callista find themselves on their own in unexplored territory and have to rely on the help of a motley group of memorable native characters to survive. Cross “Flash Gordon” with The Fifth Element and add a feisty heroine somewhere between Buffy and Starbuck, and you’ll get the idea.

French comics in general, and Ythaq in particular, deliver a lot (and I mean a lot) more story per page than their American and Japanese counterparts. Arleston’s writing is tight and engaging, and he has a knack for creating memorable characters. Floch’s art is detailed but uncluttered, as the work of a good illustrator should be – finding a comfortable middle-ground between the realistic and the cartooney. The second volume in the series, Ythaq: No Escape, will be hitting bookshelves fairly soon. Personally, I can’t wait.

Recommended for adults and older teens. Reserve your copy today!

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