I had never read any of the previous volumes in this series, so was coming to this cold. I wasn’t not sure what to expect. From the beautifully painted cover, it was to be the story of a prehistoric fellow fighting bears and such.
And while it is true that he does briefly encounter a bear, as depicted in the cover, there is a hell of a lot more to it than that.
Of course if you have read any of these books this will not be news to you, but for those of you who have not let me expand on this a bit.
Thorgal is a wandering adventurer type. A bit like Conan. A bit like Slainé. Only not at all like those two characters at all.
The story here is just your standard capture/escape/repeat format, but as you would expect from a writer like Hamme (who also created that other Cinebook series, the sublimely convoluted XIII) there is much more going on here.
A lot is lost on me as a first time reader. Thorgal’s meeting up with a character from his past, for example, no doubt will have a greater impact on the long term reader, although it is communicated well enough that it is a Surprise and a Big Deal, so knowing the details of their past encounter is not required.
There is also an element of (apparent) magic going on in here, which is also something that I found surprising, although in hindsight I don’t know why. Perhaps it was the very authentic and real world art by Grzrgorz Rosinski that did so?
Whatever the reason, this element worked well too, and the explanation for it was doubly surprising and made me want to read the previous volumes just to find out more about the mysterious world that Thorgal inhabits.
Thorgal is published by Cinebook.