The run up to Christmas is often filled with unexpected delights and pleasant surprises, and this was undoubtedly one of them. A book I’d not seen coming as I’d presumed we were moving on to the Jolan stories in the Thorgal saga. Well, how wrong was I. When Cinebook had prepared the English translations of the books they’d opted to start with Child Of The Stars, meaning they’d skipped a few tales, so we now get them here in this double-sized volume zero.
It’s always interesting to return to the beginning of the tale to see how characters have developed over time, but the novel situation here of going back before the first volume gives us a glimpse, in the first few panels, of a simpler story. Thorgal seems to be gentler soul here albeit courting just as much trouble. Chained to the rocks of a freezing sea he’s left to drown by Gandalf the Mad. Rather than succumb to the fate he is rescued by a woman who, as payment, takes him into her service for a year. That verbal contract will see Thorgal face his first serious challenges and set him on the path to learning just who he really is.
As you might expect, Rosinksi’s art is more naive and Van Hamme’s script, certainly in the first tale, shows few signs of planning out a great epic. But it doesn’t take long for them to hit their stride and with their growing confidence in their creation the story gathers the pace and promise it so richly deserves.
For any Thorgal fans this is a no-brainer addition to your bookshelf, and for anyone new, well, you could happily start right here. If that is you, you’ve got all of 2020 stretching out before you to discover and savour the narrative to date. You lucky so-and-so.
And If You Liked That: Volume 22 is on its way soon