Spirou & Fantasio 18: Attack Of The Zordolts

By Yoann & Vehlmann
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781800440227

There’s quite a lengthy history to the Spirou and Fantasio stories. For Cinebook, publishing the tales in English for a new audience, they could have simply started at the beginning and printed them consecutively. The trouble with that approach is that it would take a very long time to catch up to the most recent tales, So, instead, they’ve cleverly gone for a mix, hopping back and forth between the classic earlier tales and newer stories by more recent creators. What makes it clever is that they often pick up on a character or story thread that’s been repeated across the decades, giving Cinebook readers a sense of continuity. In this new book we have the return of Zorglub, a reformed character, but certainly up to something nonetheless.

By the time Spirou and Fantasio get involved Champignac is unrecognisable. Monstrous creatures roam a hostile forest, and the situation is so dire that the military plan to blow it all sky high. But Spirou and Fantasio know the Count is still in there somewhere, and in trouble, so they plunge deep into the madness to help. A risky thing to do, for even if they can survive evolution gone mad, they still have the bomb to contend with.

This is the first book Cinebook has presented with Vehlmann and Yoann as creators. Vehlmann is the writer of such great books as Green Manor, Alone, and The Marquis d’Anaon, all great series in their own rights. To see him attached to Spirou and Fantasio is really welcome as he’s one of the greatest writers in the industry. Yoann, on the other hand, is new to me. Like his predecessors, he isn’t trying to replicate Franquin’s original style, but he certainly does is some justice. Clearly a gifted cartoonist in his own right, he hits the ground running here and keeps the pace all the way through. There are some utterly lovely panels, superb creature design, and brilliant comedic touches. I’d quite happily have plenty more from these two.

If you’re new to these books and you’re not too sure if this is a suitable place to start, well, you’ll be fine. It’s accessible, humorous and well told. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. And then, of course, there’s the rest of the back catalogue to sink your teeth into. I’m almost jealous.

And if you liked that: Vehlmann’s Green Manor is a particular gem – lay your hands on it as soon as you can.

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