Iznogoud & The Jigsaw Turk (Vol 11)

By Goscinny & TabaryIZ-11
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781849182096

I like Iznogoud a lot. I like its punchy, clipped storytelling, its absurdly farcical set-ups, its rapid wit and Tabary’s manic cartooning. It’s a quick-fire sketch-show of a book and I couldn’t recommend it more to anyone that enjoys a good comic or cartoon.

In this volume we get another four tales where Iznogoud desperately tries to replace himself as the Caliph, beginning with a magic jigsaw puzzle that, when you place the last piece and think of someone, causes that person to shatter in as many pieces as the puzzle. Of course, this being an Iznogoud book, there’s no way Iznogoud’s going to be successful, and he’s constantly thwarted in getting that final piece placed. It’s a brilliant example of why this series is so good – there’s no overarching drama or long-term plot to follow, just the simple premise of Iznogoud trying to overthrow the Caliph and his constant failure in doing so, usually by incompetence, bad luck or over-zealousness, and always, always, funny.

In the second tale Crawdad the Sailor has returned from a fishing trip where his entire crew have been frozen by the song of the siren, but Crawdad, being deaf, has captured her and placed her in his cabin in a bath, an object which nobody appears to understand or recognise. All Iznogoud needs to do is get her to sing for the Caliph and job done. In the third tale Iznogoud comes into possession of a shrinking potion and attempts to use it to shrink his great leader, with typically comic results.

Now I particularly liked the final tale, about the arrival in the city of a psychic who owns a calendar that when you tear off a day takes you forward in time to the new date. By using a special glue you can travel back again. Now I like a bit of hard science-fiction and I like time travel paradoxes, but I’ve not come across something quite as condensed and brilliantly done as this. I was grinning broadly throughout.

Hugely encouraging that at volume 11 the material presented in this book is as strong and funny as it is. It’s representative of the series as a whole and if you’ve not read Iznogoud yet then this is certainly a good place to start.

And if you liked that: Check out Cinebook’s website for the other Iznogoud volumes

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