Lion Forge 2017
Written & Illustrated by Thierry Labrosse
Translated by Jeremy Melloul
Lettered by Andworld Design
In a dystopian future of mounting sea levels, the rich have access to a rejuvenating vaccine that can allow lifespans of hundreds of years. A young man named Riel arrives in the urban metropolis of Montreal and meets a young woman, Neve, who is allied with rebel insurgents (the “Bastards of God”) fighting the corporate powers that control the city and the vaccine.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was originally in French as it takes place in Montreal, so Thierry would be French Canadian, part of my ancestry by the way. Again another incredible debut by someone with a different world viewpoint that gives us a look at a common theme in a new light. I like it, it’s got that right amount of oomph, drama, intrigue and so far no real science fiction to it. The premise here is great there’s a select few who get the treatment needed to live and the working force is subjected to horrendous living conditions and are essentially disposable or expendable. So naturally there’s a group who rebels against that and a rogue assassin who may hold the key to the future. All of this is shown to us through the eyes of a naive young man on his first trip away from home.
The way this issue is set up is spectacularly well done. From the beginning and the introduction of the characters to the way the book flows through it’s last page we get a great look at the state the world and the city of Montreal are in. We get just enough so that we want more of the woman who tried to assassinate the driving force of Jouvex’s rise. As for Riel I love how he’s portrayed, his innocence in the face of all he sees and that naivete to still believe in the future. The contrast between him and our assassin, Gana, is delightful.
I’m a huge fan of anyone who can write and illustrate their own story. The artwork here is superbly done and that it feels like watercolour to me is perfect considering what is going on. There’s this verve, zest and joie de vivre to what he brings to the page that captures the mind, imagination through the creativity of the work. The utilisation of page layouts through angles, perspective and use of backgrounds are marvelously done.
While yes this is a dystopian future where much of the world is being flooded by rising waters, sea levels, making transportation difficult and the outer regions dying, outside big cities the farmland is increasingly going under the water level, it’s still got that sense of hope, awe and wonder to it. It’s not dark and full of angst and that’s surprisingly refreshing to see. Riel seems like a great sort of anti-hero in that his view is one we don’t get to see often and his role in what’s going on will change him irrevocably or just reaffirm his current beliefs.
Seriously this is why you need to support the smaller companies who put out amazing stories by people we’ve never heard of. This is completely and utterly enthralling from start to finish, top to bottom.