Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Asterix and the Missing Scroll Review (Jean-Yves Ferri, Didier Conrad)

Caesar writes his memoirs but is talked out of including the chapter on his greatest failure: the village of crazy indomitable Gauls that holds out against the Romans! Nevertheless, the scroll is leaked and Caesar sends his men to find it before its contents are revealed to the world and he is humiliated. Except the missing scroll has made its way to Asterix and Obelix… 

Like all iconic characters, Asterix and co. continue to have adventures after their creators have died/retired. The new creative team of writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad continue their run with this second book, The Missing Scroll, though unfortunately it’s not as good as their first, Asterix and the Picts, and that wasn’t very good to begin with! 

There’s a contemporary flavour to the book with its premise of releasing information to the public, referencing Wikileaks - the Lutetian journalist, Confoundtheirpolitix, who has the scroll is a dead ringer for Julian Assange. That’s about it for the satire though and it doesn’t translate into the best story either.

Without dwelling too much on the flaws of the flimsy premise (I know, it’s a kid’s book), the narrative’s not very interesting in itself. Asterix and Obelix stand about until Getafix gives them an even flimsier goal to close out the book and then it’s just counting the pages until we get there. There’s no tension, the Romans remain the jokes they are, and then it’s over. The horoscope subplot was even weaker and what humour there was failed to hit the spot. 

It’s remarkable how similar Didier Conrad’s art is to Albert Uderzo’s, and it definitely feels like an Asterix comic but The Missing Scroll is also not nearly as good as the canonical first 24 volumes by Goscinny/Uderzo. I’m a lifelong Asterix fan but I was disappointed with this uninspired and boring effort.

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