Trent Vol 6: The Sunless Country

By Rodolphe & Leo
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781849183963

Trent strays the furthest north so far, way into the frozen wastes bordering the Arctic Circle. Left with his faithful hound in an obscure hut, his fellow mounties have moved on. It’s Trent’s job to wait for their return. But not only does he have to deal with the desolate landscape, loneliness, and the biting cold, but it’s winter here too. That means the sun is beyond the horizon and it will remain that way for some time.

However, he’s not as alone as he thinks he is. A gunshot in the blackness leads him to a dying Native American and, eventually, an igloo. Inside is a baby, alive, but at serious risk. Previously Trent had been struggling with the isolation. Now he has a reason to act. If he doesn’t march south with haste then the baby will die of exposure or hunger. What Trent couldn’t know was just how complicated the baby’s road to this far northern latitude has been, but he’s about to find out.

Once again, Rodolphe and Leo capture the breathtaking vastness of the story’s setting. Not just through the depictions of frozen vistas but through subtle reminders within the text. By and large, if you’re this far north you’re very much on your own, with just your wits and skills to sustain you. We’re so used to stories told in the modern world, where travel across the globe is relatively easy, safe and comfortable, but this is so far removed from that. In this period the West may be wild, but the North is empty and bitterly cold.

Trent, as a hero, is extremely likeable as a character. He’s not bullish or macho. He’s not cocky or self-righteous, either. He’s a man with doubts and regrets, sustained by a little hope and an unbending sense of duty. He may have been wavering while being left alone in the cabin, but the moment he’s needed he gets done what needs to be done. And he’s fallible too. This just makes him more relatable, and more interesting as a character study too. Rodolphe’s writing, and Leo’s skilful portrayal of his expressions and body language, mean he works. And because he’s a compelling character, you’re more than happy to join him on his journey.

Six books in and this has proved to be a consistently dependable series. The storytelling and artwork have remained above par throughout. If you’ve not tried it, you really should give it a go.

And if you liked that: For a slightly different tale of a mountie, try Hugo Pratt’s The Man From The Great North.

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