- Posted by Johanna on November 21, 2010 at 7:23 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Hubert and Kerascoet
- PUBLISHER: NBM; $14.99 US
The tendency of the first book to work around its heroine, making her an observer instead of a protagonist, is even more pronounced in this followup, to negative effect.
In short, throughout this book, Blanche is a victim. She’s picked on, taken advantage of, drugged, and abused, and the closest she gets to learning anything or taking action is having others tell her, “you should have done this instead, but it’s too late now.”
This volume is much more a life story than a mystery/crime comic, as the first book was. The only mystery here is what’s behind Antoine’s behavior — he’s an innocent-looking young man who begins wooing Blanche for his own reasons. Anyone who’s ever seen a British period drama can guess what they are, as the story is executed in broad strokes and familiar patterns.
The characters are well-drawn, with wiggly lines providing a feeling of movement, and the fashions attractive, but the colors are so vibrant at times that it’s hard to tell what’s going on (especially those panels that use a red-on-red color scheme).
This book shows fatalism dressed up in the (lack of) clothes of a French bordello. I found reading it pointless and thoroughly unpleasant, much like the character of Blanche’s mother, introduced here. Motivations throughout are either unclear or cliched. More disturbingly, all the bad guys (except one — the only attractive young woman amongst that group) get away with their crimes. As in the first book, it’s all wrapped up abruptly in a few pages at the end, as though the author was tracking page count incorrectly and ran out of space.
We’re told, by the way, in the press materials, that the authors “had no intention of pursuing with Blanche until the overwhelming success of the first story”. I would submit that, if this is a comic written only to pitch for more sales, that would explain why it’s so disappointing and poorly structured. (The publisher provided a review copy.)