Saturday, 18 November 2017

Asterix and the Chariot Race Review (Jean-Yves Ferri, Didier Conrad)

A Roman Senator is shamed into defending the crumbling state of the famous Roman roads by proposing a chariot race across Italy. Thus the first Trans-Italic Race (an Ancient version of the Gumball Rally) is born with competitors including our Gaulish heroes, Asterix and Obelix! 

Ah, sweet, pointless nostalgia - that’s what keeps me coming back to these new Asterix books despite not being nearly as good as the Uderzo/Goscinny originals! As they’ve done for three books now, writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad faithfully replicate the look and tone of Asterix but they’ve yet to produce anything very good. 

Ferri ticks all the boxes: the silly names, the sly jabs at pop culture, Obelix’s wild boar obsession and shyness around the ladies, and Caesar talking about himself in the third person. But it’s not a very compelling read as nothing terribly interesting happens in the story and our heroes predictably sail through without encountering any real problems. 

The masked Roman champion, Coronavirus, was mildly interesting except his identity reveal was underwhelming. And anyway how do you have a famous champion with multiple victories in a race that’s the first of its kind??

Asterix and the Chariot Race is a perfectly ok comic but nothing special. I enjoyed it as I’ve been a huge Asterix fan since childhood so it was nice to revisit that world again with a new adventure, though I’d recommend Uderzo/Goscinny’s Asterix and the Great Banquet over this one, which is basically the same story but much more entertaining.

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