Asterix and the Golden Sickle (Asterix #2) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Asterix and the Golden Sickle
Series: Asterix #2
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Translators: Bell & Hockridge
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 51
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Disaster strikes the Gaulish village when Getafix the druid breaks his golden sickle, as without one, he cannot attend the annual conference of druids, or cut mistletoe for the magic potion which keeps the Roman army at bay. Asterix and Obelix set out for Lutetia (present-day Paris) to buy a new sickle from Obelix’s distant cousin, the sicklesmith Metallurgix.

On the way there, they encounter bandits, but easily defeat them, and learn from a fellow-traveller that “sickles are in short supply in Lutetia”. In the city, they find Metallurgix missing and make inquiries at a local inn, but the landlord professes to know nothing. He later gives a description of Asterix and Obelix to the devious Clovogarlix, who in turn directs them to his superior Navishtrix, who tries to sell them a sickle at an exorbitant price. They refuse, and defeat Navishtrix and his followers, only to be arrested by a Roman patrol. They are released by the Prefect of Lutetia, Surplus Dairyprodus, and learn from a Centurion that Metallurgix may have been kidnapped by sickle traffickers.

From a drunkard imprisoned by Dairyprodus, they learn Navishtrix has a hideout at a portal dolmen in the Boulogne forest. In Navishtrix’s underground store-room, Asterix and Obelix find a hoard of golden sickles, but are attacked by Clovogarlix, Navishtrix and their minions. Upon defeat, Navishtrix escapes, and Asterix and Obelix follow him to Surplus Dairyprodus, who – in front of the Centurion – freely confesses to having sponsored the illegal sickle monopoly for his own amusement. The Centurion releases Metallurgix and imprisons Dairyprodus and Navishtrix; whereafter Metallurgix gratefully gives Asterix and Obelix the best of his sickles. With this, they return to their village and celebrate their achievement.

My Thoughts:

As fun as this was, I am realizing that it truly is meant for a younger audience. I think that for me to appreciate it to its fullest I’d have to read these just one a year instead of one a month. However, that just isn’t going to happen.

There is a formula to these books that goes something like this: There is a Problem that somehow involves the Gaulish village. Asterix and Obelix get roped into Solving the Problem. Violence and Jokes Ensue, Repeat as Necessary until Solution(s) are reached. Everyone has a Feast at the Village to celebrate. The End.

That formula works and it works well. You simply cannot beat (pun intended) Asterix drinking the magic potion and kerpow’ing scads of roman legionnaires with one punch. And don’t forget the random stranger who gets a swig of the stuff and adds to the chaos. And the banter, don’t forget the banter. It is like combining the Three Stooges with Laurel & Hardy. The problem with a formula is that at some point a reader (ie, me) expects something new and the older you are and the longer you’ve read, the harder it is to find new things. And formula’s aren’t well known for coming up with new things but with successfully re-using items that have worked before.

Of course, it might just be that I’m an old grump (get off my concrete lawn, you stupid kids!) and I want to complain about something and poor little Asterix “won” the lottery. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

59 thoughts on “Asterix and the Golden Sickle (Asterix #2) ★★★✬☆

  1. Since you’re in a grumpy mood, I’ll do an Alex Good and question the use of an apostrophe here…

    ‘And formula’s aren’t well known for coming up with new things but with successfully re-using items that have worked before…’

    Liked by 1 person

            1. Sorry, my bad.
              Yeah, they got literal bread from heaven that was described as honeyed bread, and they ended up complaining against God Himself and Moses because they wanted some meat. It makes one shake their head but at the same time we can all completely understand.

              I couldn’t eat pizza every day, even though sometimes I think that might be nice 😉

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. We call it sandwiches if you add vegetables to them.

                      Spreads: ground meat, eggsalade, crab salade, ham salade. Basically mayo or some other sauce with pieces of meat/fish/crusteceans and/or egg and/or diced veggies

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I do, but it does vary widely. Neither Mrs B or I are cooks in any way and so we eat a lot of prepared food. Which has so much variety that we don’t have to eat the same thing more than we want. The closest thing I get to the same is eating bananas and oranges for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is always wide open to whatever I feel like 😀

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do remember some of them having better than average stories, but don’t remember how they all rated individually. Any artist, whether it’s a novelist or a comic book writer or a musician, is going to repeat themselves as they go along. The formula is part of what you come back for!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d mentioned loving these when younger, but I’ve not tried reading them since then, and in fact I no longer have any. But your thoughts make perfect sense to me. There’s a chance I’d still get a lot of enjoyment because of the nostalgic factor, but without that I could see them getting old quick. I think back to the Xanth books by Piers Anthony, which I also loved when much younger. But those are also very formulaic and even when younger I grew tired of them eventually. I’m still curious to one day reread the earlier ones, but we’ll see…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a side note, these also bring to mind Groo the Wanderer comics, which I never grew tired of. They were formulaic in the best possible way. As Alex said, that’s what I came back for. I will almost certainly reread some of the Groo stories, just not too many at one time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m loving this love for Groo! I was a big fan back in the day and I still read them from time to time. Dark Horse are currently releasing a Groo & Tarzan 4-issue mini series. I reviewed Groo Vs. Conan a few months ago. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

              1. I wonder if one reason I never grew tired of Groo was that it wasn’t a long running monthly series, at least not that I recall. It tended more towards smaller limited series or large issues telling a single story. And Wakizashi’s descriptions are perfect. Just zany stories and art of a Conan-like bumbling but loveable main character and lots of recurring characters.

                Liked by 2 people

    2. I’d still recommend a re-read. Just don’t expect to be as wowed as before. Like I said in some of the other comments, I am wondering about slowing down my pace with these. We’ll have to see if that makes a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Makes sense, and I agree, I would love to reread them at some point. I may have to check my used book store, see if they have any. And I’ll check with my brother, he might have kept some he’d collected.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It is. Reading to your kids is an invaluable family practice. I hope my kiddos pay it forward one day.

        I was living in Germany when I discovered A & O, but the only copies were in German and I couldn’t read them. My first copies that were in English, was South African English because that’s where I bought them.

        Do you know that the jokes and puns are catered to the country? I later bought American versions after I got to the states from South Africa. The spelling and the jokes were different.

        That’s pretty amazing when you realized they were originally published in French.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I did know the jokes were aimed for each language. I learned that because in 2006 these were re-issued with new translations and they changed a lot of the jokes/names. My dad complained VERY vociferously as he was still collecting them, hahahahaa 😀

          Like

          1. Yeah, I realize that. I was just speculating whether it make make you/me enjoy one or the other more. Two very different styles. Asterix would probably feel very refreshing after Spawn. I might try doing it with Spawn and then Groo. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  4. When a series like this gets too popular, it goes on forever despite getting more and more formulaic… and at some point I’d rather re-read the old favourites than read the new ones. I got there with Thorgal some time ago…

    But you’re reviewing comic #2 here, that would one of the early ones to get back to… ok, an alternative explanation – sometimes it’s better no to revisit things one enjoyed in his early years, it may not be as good as the memories…

    Liked by 1 person

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