This second volume of the English translation of Arleston and Floch’s Ythaq reveals a couple more layers to the conspiratorial plot, but offers no resolution. The art remains excellent, and the characters affecting, although the story is increasingly an affair of some god(s) in the machine (planet). It doesn’t seem that the further story beyond this segment is currently available in English, but hopefully it will be in the future. As with other titles of the Marvel Soleil imprint, I find the reduction of the art from the larger European BD size to the smaller US comic book page format to be a loss, but the book is otherwise materially excellent.
The Forsaken World collects the first three bandes dessinées of Christophe Arleston’s Ythaq in English translation. The story is quite an entertaining adventure, told in a style that reminds me of Jeff Smith’s Bone. Whereas the epic fantasy of Smith is written for all ages, Ythaq is decidedly adult, with its three castaways organized into an unrequited triangular affection.
The space opera frame story lands the protagonists in a Flash Gordon-style world with many non-human sentient races, but the overall tone is a little closer to the wonderful sword-and-planet work of Leigh Brackett. As in Bone, the setting has its own mysteries, and the working out of the plot involves coming to understand the history of the fantasy world. This first volume brings the story through many major plot developments, but provides very little in the way of resolution.
Adrien Floch’s art is really comics-stylized and somewhat lighthearted, but his characters and settings are all quite expressive, and they communicate the action very effectively.
This collection brings the story begun in Scourge of the Gods to a satisfying conclusion. On reflection, the whole thing is pretty cinematic, and could make a rather epic screen feature. The art is still as beautiful as that of the previous volume, but I must admit that the bleaching that accompanies Flavia/Kerka’s further apotheosis made her a degree less sexy to me.
Scourge of the Gods – The Fall is a fun read, but it would not be worth the bother in the absence of the previous volume, which establishes the setting and the relationships among the central characters.
Set in a galactic neo-antiquity of Romans and Huns, the plot of this space opera is thick with intrigue. The painted artwork by Serbian artist Aleksa Gajic is gorgeous in its depictions of planetary vistas, and engaging in its character-level events. There is no third-person verbal narration, which suits my tastes, even if it makes the action a little harder to follow at points.
My copy of the book is a glossy, full-color hardcover, reproducing the first three issues of the original French comic in English translation from the Marvel Comics Soleil imprint. I only wish the page size were a little larger to be able to better appreciate the details of the art. The story reaches a point of crucial revelation at the end of this volume, but it certainly calls out for its sequel in order to reach a full resolution.