Asterix and the Griffin, review: back in the USSR

Asterix and the Griffin, review: back in the USSR

Asterix and the Griffin, review

Panini Comics brings to Italy, simultaneously with France and with over a dozen other countries around the world, the 39th book of the adventures of Asterix and Obelix entitled Asterix and the Griffin. As in the tradition of the series created by René Goscinny and the designer Albert Uderzo, in which "home" adventures alternate with others around the territories of the Empire and beyond, the screenwriter Jean-Yves Ferri and the designer Didier Conrad push Asterix and Obelix to the extreme eastern borders of the Empire, the so-called Barbaricum, to the heart of the territory inhabited by the Sarmatians.

How and why did Asterix and Obelix go to those desolate and unexplored lands? But above all because even the irreducible Romans have sent an expedition to those inhospitable territories?

Asterix and the Griffin: back in the USSR

Asterix, Obelix and Panoramix are on their way to remote Sarmatia . In fact, the druid received a request for help from the "colleague" shaman Kikucina in a dream. The reason is soon explained because Caesar was intrigued by the geographer Terrincognitus about the mysterious Griffin, a beast half eagle and half lion with horse ears and which would be found right in Sarmatia. Caesar, intending to bring the creature to Rome and ingratiate himself with the people, sets out on an expedition led by Terrincognitus himself, by the centurion Nelsuobrodus with his two Scythian explorers, by the famous venator (a gladiator expert in fighting with beasts) Ermejus and by the Amazon Kalachnikovna sarmata, whom the Romans have already taken prisoner, and from whom they would like to extort the exact location of the beast.

Once in the village of Kikucina, Asterix, Obelix and a very cold Panoramix then learn that the Romans want to capture the Griffon, a sacred animal for the Sarmatians. Nothing new for Asterix and Obelix who can't wait to clash with some Roman legionaries except that they sensationally can't count on their miraculous potion which forces them to organize the offensive with the Sarmatian Amazons led by Uonderuovna, Kikucina's wife, intended to free Kalachnikovna. In fact, matriarchy is in force among the Sarmatians: the women fight while the men stay in the village.

The bargaining with the Romans is complex also because Obelix lets slip an important detail, namely that only the shaman knows the exact location of the Griffin, to which Nelsuobrodus proposes the ultimatum: the Amazon's freedom in exchange for Kikucina. Arriving at a stalemate, it is the shaman who surrenders himself to the Romans thus leading the two parties to a mad rush to reach the place where the Griffon is.

What, however, both the Romans and the Amazons Sarmate and Asterix and Obelix are in front of him is a very different creature from the mythical Griffin while Terrincognitus reveals that the expedition is motivated, for his part at least, by many other purposes besides the glory of Rome. A narrow escape is the same Kikucina to reveal the "mythical" origins of the Griffin and how the legend of him was fed above all to protect the Sarmatian people. | and awareness in a narrative path that is leading them to make the adventures of the irrepressible Galli duo more multifaceted both from the point of view of the settings and of the "secondary" characters less and less "supporting" and more and more active actors in the development of the plot. Let me be clear, Asterix and the Griffin does not depart from the stylistic features that have made the adventures of Asterix and Obelix highly appreciated and popular but makes them more ironically subtle by inserting, without overdoing it, current themes and neuroses.

It is self-evident how thematically the register revolves around the drastic change of scenery. Not that Asterix and Obelix have never moved away from their village but in this thirty-ninth register they are very far from home not only geographically but also practically dealing with a strong matriarchal society and more ready to beat their hands than the Gauls would normally do. Asterix and Obelix are not intimidated by the Amazons but they are almost fascinated and at times impatient if only because they cannot launch into battle due to the lack of the potion.

If narratively then the plot revolves on the one hand around the impossibility of using the potion, on the other hand Jean-Yves Ferri plays very well, and skilfully masking them, with some stylistic features typical of frontier narrative and therefore of western fiction. The Romans therefore ideally transform themselves into white soldiers and Asterix and companions into Indians against the backdrop of wide unexplored open spaces with the race to the Griffin at the center which becomes a totemic animal but also a symbol through which to preserve a culture against aggressive Roman imperialism. br>
In this sense Ferri has ample room to manage comic tempos, gags and various curtains including the “current” themes mentioned above. The two explored Shiites become, for example, an outlet valve of a series of double meanings linked to the mania of reviewing anything in Tripadvisor style (and in fact the two define themselves only institutional Shiites playing on the assonance between sites and Shiites) while the poor Roman legionaries put in place discussing not only the pre-established authority, contesting some natural principles (the rising of the sun), only to indulge in stupid rituals to protect themselves from bad luck.

Where perhaps the screenwriter sins is in the speed with which the final resolution is reached, at a certain point predictable and forced in wanting to find a scapegoat in Terrincognitus while not needing, given the narrative and thematic structure of the register , of a real antagonist.

Didier Conrad's work is also excellent. He has now found a perfect balance between his style and the iconic representation of the characters. With a table always firmly set according to the French cage (with a minimum of 8 frames), Conrad makes the most of the unusual setting by giving ample space to the "scenographies": the shots become deeper, long and very long shots, which enhance the expanses covered with snow and the new and hostile nature of the Barbaricum.

While at the layout level the squares enlarge (even with some double horizontal and some quadruple horizontal) or shrink back to a traditional setting, the stroke is safe and made up of a supple and continuous line where it is not loses an opportunity to accentuate the expressiveness of the characters, especially the more grotesque and exaggerated one, nor the kinetic component with a couple of really simple solutions but with a strong impact with the protagonist, it seems obvious to say, Obelix.

The volume

Panini Comics continues, on a carto-technical level, the sober tradition of the books of the adventures of Asterix. It is a graphic design adopted globally as well as the format or the hardcover size 21.8 × 28.7 cm with 48 pages. The paper used is uncoated with an excellent weight that enhances the colors and Conrad's stroke. Both the translation and the adaptation are very smooth and never simple and full of puns, double meanings and neologisms in macaronic Latin to be rendered at their best.

Powered by Blogger.