Lord of the Bears, Vol.1: Columns of GarudaJanuary 9, 2021
On Valencyre’s coasts, fishermen make a strange discovery: a human. This human does not bode well since he claims to be resurrected by a necromancer. If this is ever confirmed, it means the animal people are in great danger since that necromancer, Kalygaryd, plans a good old revenge against them.
Thus the bear king Artus of Valencyre sends his son Kodiak, his fencing master Milhius and some other trusted people to investigate about what Ifrit the human claims. First, they’ll have to pass through the columns of Garuda and it is not quite certain that the king eagle will look favorably on this somewhat forced arrival.
Meanwhile in Valencyre, things take an unfortunate turn …
Lord of the Bears has (for the moment) nothing to do with the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, despite its title. This first volume sets up a perilous situation where the big bad adversary is still only a rumor. A relatively strong team is put in place and Dobbs tells us the beginnings of their journey, meeting some tribe who is neither friendly nor clearly an enemy.
At the end of the 56 pages of this first volume, we don’t know much more. We barely guess the characters, we get a good buddy movie scene, but the tense moments only come at the end of the album, in the good old cliffhanger tradition. …
An introductory volume, then, which will provide some informations about the world and also pretty obvious references.
Once again, it’s the graphic touch that makes the book appealing, as it’s often the case with Comix Buro. And there, it is the excellent Didier Cassegrain who sticks to it. The author has often been paired to charming (but strong) heroines living some paced adventures and he settles here for the first time in a tale of anthropomorphic animals, a genre popularized by Blacksad which has experienced a resurgence lately (see Le Châteaux des Animaux, Les 5 Terres, …) . The artist is doing perfectly well, perhaps thanks to his past experience at Disney.
Cassegrain succeeds in creating creatures with very humanoid bodies but still consistent with their animal heads. The effect is more striking with the female characters who have huge pulmonary abilities.
The layout is due to Oliver Vatine (Aquablue) and it’s no surprise we are in a blockbuster comic-book. The pace is dynamic, the inter-box space wider than usual, the images’ strength put forward. It’s solid, proven, and a story that would almost work without any dialog. That said, if the designs are superb and the pages are very readable, I find them too dark to my liking and I would have liked a little more contrast in order to be able to enjoy Cassegrain’s lines and colors.
Being objective, I cannot say that this first volume of Lord of the Bears is a very surprising album. Things are very marked out for the moment and I miss a surprising or original side that would arouse my curiosity. But since Didier Cassegrain is on board, my objectivity disappears and I just hope that the following volumes will allow us to enjoy even more his work.
About this book:
Take a look at the first pages: https://www.glenat.com/hors-collection/sa-majeste-des-ours-tome-01-9782344035979