Bryan Talbot really should need no introduction.
He has been a massive part of the comics scene, both in Britain and worldwide for decades, and has managed to straddle the line between mainstream comics and underground publications with consummate ease for all that time.
Grandville Mon Amour is his latest offering.
It takes place just a few weeks after the events in the previous Grandville book, and we meet Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock lost in a self destructive spiral, which he snaps out of when informed of the escape of the crazed serial killer 'Mad Dog' Mastock.
What follows is an exciting and fast paced adventure that takes us from London to Paris and back again, as LeBrock pursues Mad Dog, and in doing so unpicks a mystery as old as the British Republic…
Before you even open the book, you know it’s a thing of quality, with a lovely debossed (eh? Check me with my technical talk!) cover. The printing is glorious, making the colours stand out perfectly, and the paper so thick that I had to repeatedly check I wasn’t turning two pages at once.
You know, it would have been enough if the story was merely passable. This is because the art is somewhere on the other side of exquisite. There are panels here that are totally crammed with detail. Apartments and shops where the reader can explore the background, taking in everything on the shelves and walls, all of which is brilliantly realised. There is a panel early on in LeBrock’s messy apartment where a chess set spilled across the floor. I was sorely tempted to count the pices to make sure Talbot hadn’t missed any… I bet he hasn’t though.
The real life buildings are drawn to perfection, and I love the anthropomorphic twist on Westminster.
Yes, the art alone would have been enough to carry this volume. But Talbot, it seems, had other plans. He has also succeeded in crafting a wonderful whodunit. There are some delightful twists and turns in the plot, and he manages to pull the rug from below the reader’s feet on more than one occasion. There are also a load of great puns that walk that fine line between a laugh and a groan- and a catchphrase from the PM that will not fail to raise a smile.
Talbot’s Grandville is, I think, a genuine phenomena- or at least it deserves to be. Why this, and the previous book, has not been snapped up by a film company and turned into a full length animation is a mystery to me.
The only trouble with this book is that it is too short. Hurry up with the next one, Bryan!