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Title: Asterix the Legionary
Series: Asterix #10
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Asterix and Obelix are setting off for a wild boar hunt when they encounter Panacea, a former childhood resident of the village who has since moved to Condatum, and Obelix immediately falls in love with her. Some hours later, Panacea receives word that her fiancé Tragicomix has been conscripted into the Roman army and shipped to North Africa; and Obelix, although heartbroken, promises to bring him back.
Asterix and Obelix travel to Condatum, where they learn that Tragicomix has already left for Massilia, the Mediterranean port from which the soldiers depart, and themselves enlist in the army to follow him, alongside Hemispheric the Goth; Selectivemploymentax the Briton; Gastronomix the Belgian; Neveratalos the Greek; and Ptenisnet, an Egyptian tourist who spends the entire book believing himself to be in a holiday camp.
After completing basic training (and repeatedly and comically driving their instructors to the verge of tears), the newly formed unit sets off as reinforcements to Caesar against Scipio, Afranius, and King Juba I of Numidia. Asterix and Obelix soon find out that Tragicomix has gone missing in action after a skirmish, and raid Scipio’s camp to recover him. This results in the Battle of Thapsus, in which the confusion over the Gauls’ unorthodox assault and the similarity of both armies’ uniforms cause a default victory for Caesar after the frustrated Scipio sounds the retreat. The Gauls are cornered by Caesar after the battle is over; but released and sent home for their assistance in his victory. Asterix and Obelix thereafter celebrate at home, while Panacea and Tragicomix return to Condatum to marry
Questions that popped into my head when reading this story:
- Why aren’t Asterix and Obelix married men? They seem old enough.
Upon thinking for about 30seconds, the answer is obvious. The authors know that if Asterix and Obelix settle down, their adventuring days are over. Both would take their responsibilities as husbands seriously and their wives and eventual kids would take precedent in their minds.
- The Romans just can’t catch a break can they? They try to hide from Obelix and end up trampling on the flowers he wants for Panacea.
This is one of the repeated gags that never gets old for me. Seeing fully armed and armored soldiers getting the stuffing knocked out of them by a midget and a fatman always makes me laugh!
- Bureaucracy portrayed here, is it any different today? And if we could just biff and bam the parasites who give us the runaround now, would it change anything? Hint, yes!
Man, I had to cry. Bureaucrats are as unhelpful today as they obviously were when this was written. Something about a bureaucracy seems to attract a certain kind of person and personally, I think the world would be a much better place without those kinds of people. Give me a license to use a boxing glove on that jackass sitting behind the desk at the Department of Motor Vehicles, please!
- What did you think of Asterix’s insistence on going through the Legion training as quickly as possible?
I actually wondered why Asterix and Obelix went through all the trouble. Wandering around causing havoc and mayhem seems to be their trademark so it was almost out of character for them to “try” to abide by the rules. Of course, them selectively obeying the rules made for some really funny scenes.
- Is Tragicomix a pansy? Why didn’t he biff and bam his way out of the Legion like a good Gaul?
Tragicomix IS a pansy. Despite a chin that would make Bruce Campbell green with envy, Tragicomix doesn’t lift a finger at any time to help himself. In many ways he reminds me of spoiled young kids of today with Asterix and Obelix as helicopter parents taking care of every single thing. Being in the army would have made a man out of him. Well, as the Princess Bride always says, Twue Wuv….
- Julius Caesar is always doing favors for Asterix and Obelix. Should they get a loyalty rewards membership? Save Julius 3 times and get a free attack on a Roman Patrol kind of thing?
I realized after I wrote this question that the boys are already getting free attacks on Roman Patrols, so that idea was kind of pointless. However, a lifetime supply of free boar seems called for. Since Obelix seems to eat at least 3-9 boars a day, ol’ Julius is going to need a hog farm!
- Finally, just where DOES Tragicomic pin that clasp for his cape?
Dude doesn’t even have any hair on his chest, so just what is that clasp clasping onto? I would have said he’s pinned it into his own flesh, but since we’ve established he is a bona fida PANSY, that isn’t possible. I’m going to go with superglue. Probably a magic super glue that will last for a whole year. And without any chest hair he doesn’t even have to worry when he eventually pulls it off. Yeah, like I said, PANSY.
I did a buddy read with Alex, Fraggle and Sharon. Go check out their reviews and read what they have to say about this story 🙂