Trent Vol. 7: Miss Helen

By Rodolphe & Leo
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781849183970

There’s something rather endearing about the Trent books. They’re measured, unhurried, and with a hefty dose of melancholy, but somehow manage to avoid being bleak and miserable. Instead, they show courage in the face of adversity, and hope when all appears to be lost. 

Agnes and Trent are, finally, married. But the wedding day is marred by the sudden appearance of a man from Trent’s recent past. When the man’s colleague turns up in the middle of the night it’s clear that Trent has unfinished business to deal with, whether he likes it or not. It transpires that after Trent learned of Agnes’s original marriage he swiftly fell for another woman, Miss Helen. Strikingly beautiful, she not only commanded Trent’s heart but also a group of individuals, all supporters of anarchism. Their aim was to be modern-day Robin Hoods, and Trent got to witness their generosity to the poor and needy firsthand.

Although their motives appeared noble, their methods of securing money are less so. What’s more, they are in direct conflict with Trent’s role as a Mountie. He chooses to sever all connections with Miss Helen right before he runs into Agnes again, who was then searching for her missing husband (as told in volume 4). Now Miss Helen wants Trent’s attention once more, not for his love, but for his access to details of a travelling exhibition of extraordinary wealth. And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to force Trent to comply.

There are a couple of times in the tale, early on, where I felt like reaching into the page and giving Trent a bit of a slap. Despite being newly married he seems utterly unable to talk to his wife, which doesn’t really bode well for the future. His brooding and hesitance simply make matters worse. But Trent isn’t normally portrayed as a perfect hero. That’s part of what makes him work as a character. After all, we all make mistakes. Consequently, Trent is rather swept along by events rather than controlling them in any way, and it’s only at its culmination that he’s able to act positively.

This has been an exceptional series from the first book, not just because of Rodolphe’s writing but because of Leo’s peerless illustrations. He can say so much by capturing an expression that’s beyond some artists’ ability. If you’re not familiar with Leo’s work then Trent is as good a place as any to start.

And if you liked that: There’s a new Trent book, Little Trent, on the way.

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