Review: Atlas and Axis #1
Writing, Art, Colours and Letters: Pau
Publisher: Titan Comics
‘When roaming warriors Atlas and Axis return home to find that their village has been destroyed by Viking raiders, they set off on a perilous journey across land and sea to save their friends!‘
Originally published in French, it’s easy to notice the European roots of Atlas and Axis. In the true spirit of Asterix, legendary cartoonist Pau effortlessly combines humour, action and emotion. Not only do we gasp at each daring turn of events but we also recognise the pain felt, the friendships lost and the damaged hearts. As is the way with many popular anthropomorphic titles, we don’t waste time scrutinising every human we meet, judging their choices and actions, but instead we allow ourselves to truly become the audience who are led on a quest by a pair of naive but lovable heroes. It’s difficult not to be on side when you witness them diving into an innocuous puddle for a drink, well, just because that’s what dogs do.
The beating heart of the book is the heartbreaking quest to reunite our protagonists with the women and puppies from their village, who have been enslaved by rogue viking invaders. The dialogue free opening sequence is all the more harrowing as it’s presented swathed in blood red. The action quickly takes an adventurous turn as our heroes return too late and take pursuit, with a handful of clues. They encounter a series of upsets and dangers, with an omnipresent and opportunist band of cutthroats waiting in the wings. All of this creates a sense of urgency throughout so expect to get carried away a little bit. The writing is, at once, dynamic and playful with puns and doggo references aplenty. I felt the balance was just right as the writing didn’t fall into farce or stay too strictly within the usual cliches of an action yarn.
Art wise, the cartoony look of the book is equal to the fun, active nature of the plot. Yes, vistas are presented beautifully, so we can say the level of detail is admirable, but the action is delivered with bursting sweat drops, swishing movement lines and panicked facial expressions. The colour palate is vivid and bursting with warm, sunny landscapes and coastal blue hues. Even the scavenging vultures look breezy as they grimly pick their way through the remains of the villagers. With it’s very European look, it’s real, it’s serious, yet it’s safe. Expect moments of being dragged back to reality such as the dogs’ efforts to rid the village of the vultures. Moments like this do leave the reader felling they’re witnessing something much more than a comic tale about dogs. Heartfelt stuff!
Overall, this is a lovely read. It’s great fun with a serious, more grown up, face to it. People who live with dogs, in particular, will love the doggie references but to be honest, I’d recommend this to all readers.
Skully’s Corner: Why buy this book? As a lover of Asterix, there’s something quite comforting about this title. That and the nippy little vultures made my day. Buy it.
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Review written by Arun Sharma.
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