Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt by Pierre Gabus and Romuald Reutimann

A few weeks ago Larry wrote a review about District 14, of which season 2 will be published in English later this month. To get you in the mood again before you can buy season 2 Humanoids have published this spin-off title The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt that takes place in the same universe as District 14. How much do we need this spin-off though and aren't we bored of these spin-off's that seem to be the norm these days?

One of my favourite characters in District 14 has to be the cat, Bigoodee, and luckily for me The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt gives him a lot exposition. Bigoodee or Alfred as he is known for in most of this book is a co-pilot on lady Rozenbilt's rather large and luxurious airplane. The plane is full of guests she invited. As a special surprise she went out of her way to bring some collector's items on board too. Three rather particular caged collector's items. In the first cage we find diamond thief Robert Meadows, who is a rather handsome fellow according to some of the lady guests. Next is Russel Kemper, a mass murderer that received the death penalty for brutally killing 21 people. Finally there is this huge aquatic monster, the one that also features on the cover if this book. Sounds like a recipe for distaster does it not? Well it is and the events that are about to take place in this book will forever change young Bigoodee's life.

In our District 14 review of a couple of weeks ago we spoke about the mysteriousness of that story, and how page to page and panel to panel you dive even deeper into the mystery. Gabus and Reutimann continue that vibe in The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt, but they also deliver some answers. In Season 1 of District 14 for example we see Bigoode using his mysterious powers. In The Fantastic Voyage we discover the origins of this super power. But when we do though it doesn't really matter. And that's not a bad thing, instead it shows us how good this story is, how well fleshed out Bigoodee and these other characters are. You really care for them from the get go, whether they are animals or not. Or you don't want to care about some of the characters at all, because they're not very likable, such as Lady Rozenbilt's son, who is without a doubt the most annoying character in the book. So yeah very well profiled characters that each have their own story on and off the page.

So what type of story are we reviewing here actually? In essence The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt is an adventurous love story. However that is not all that's going on. It's also a social critique. And presented in a very well done package that mixes various literary genres. There's animals from children's books, aliens from science-fiction and superpowers from comics for example.  Gabus and Reutimann really went over top in mixing all of this together and that works surprisingly well for them. You are sucked into the story from page 1 and keep reading without interruptions until you finish, constantly wondering what is going to happen next. Every happening in this book happens for a reason and what's cool about that is that you will find yourself going back a couple of pages here and there to verify whether you completely understood all that you've been presented with. This makes The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt one of the most rewarding reads of the year!

Now let's switch to the art for a moment. Compared to District 14 the easiest difference spotted is of course the use of colour in The Fantastic Voyage. Delphine Rieu did a beautiful job here. Her use of colour really enhances Reutimann's art. We know his art can do without colour, but it really adds some extra vividness to the art. Hopefully the pretty colours will attract a wider audience, so Humanoids can sell more copies of District 14. I really hope this is the case so we can get more of these spin-off titles and more seasons of District 14. But first let Humanoids bring Season 2 of District 14 to us.

The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt is another highlight of the year and that's not the first Humanoids title that can claim that! Highly recommended and for those that enjoyed reading District 14 this is a definite must buy.

The Fantastic Voyage of Lady Rozenbilt is published by Humanoids | $29.95 | ISBN13: 9781594650550

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