Asterix and the Banquet (Asterix #5) ★★★✬☆

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



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Inspector General Overanxius arrives in the fortified Roman camp of Compendium on a mission from Julius Caesar to lead the local garrison against the village of indomitable Gauls. Centurion Lotuseatus warns him the Gauls are dangerous, but the attack goes ahead, only to be soundly repelled. Undeterred, Overanxius erects a stockade around the village to prevent the inhabitants from spreading their rebellious ideas through Gaul.

Asterix bets that he and Obelix will escape the village and go on a tour of Gaul, collecting regional culinary specialties for a banquet upon their return. Overanxius promises to raise the stockade if they succeed. Asterix maps out a route, while Obelix fetches a large bag to hold their shopping. The two break through the stockade, while the other villagers create a diversion by attacking the barricade on another front. Overanxius has a rider despatched to alert the entire occupation army to be on the lookout for the pair.

Rotomagus (Rouen): Asterix and Obelix make their way to the Normandy region, where a Roman patrol recognizes them. They flee and escape via a wealthy Roman couple’s yacht up the Seine, while the patrol is stymied by the unhelpfully vague responses of local residents.

Lutetia (Paris): Upon arrival, Asterix and Obelix negotiate the traffic jams and buy a ham from a pork butcher shop, where from this point on, Dogmatix (unnamed until the next adventure) follows the duo through Gaul. Fearing detection by a Roman patrol, they purchase a gleaming used chariot and handsome horse from a dishonest salesman to make their escape. They soon discover the horse is slow and was only painted black, while the chariot loses its lustre and a wheel. The duo gets back on track by knocking out the driver of a Roman breakdown chariot and stealing his vehicle.

Camaracum (Cambrai): The Gauls stop in a humbug shop to buy boiled sweets, but are spotted by a Roman patrol, which they beat up, trashing the shop in the process. Unfazed by the damage, the shopkeeper says Gauls are aware of the bet and then demonstrates his solidarity by knocking out the patrol leader. Back on the road, Asterix and Obelix get past another patrol by posing as breakdown men, towing a legionary, Spongefingus, in his damaged chariot, only to then cast him aside on the road.

Rheims (Reims): Asterix and Obelix abandon the breakdown chariot and buy some wines. They are found by Spongefingus, who has recovered from his “accident,” but Asterix knocks him down by using a cork exploding from an amphora.

Divodurum (Metz): Leaving Rheims, the pair detours into a forest, where the scent of roast boar leads them to the house of Unpatriotix, who feeds and then betrays them. Roman soldiers come to the house but capture only Asterix, as Obelix is out hunting boar. When Obelix discovers the ruse, he knocks out a legionary to get imprisoned too and rescues Asterix. After beating up the Romans at the prison, Asterix declares it is too late to buy any of Divodurum’s specialties and decides to buy some in Lugdunum. As they leave, the Gauls commandeer a Roman postal cart.

Lugdunum (Lyon): The two Gauls abandon the postal cart and, after crashing through a Roman blockade, meet Jellibabix, head of the resistance movement. He pretends to betray the Gauls to Prefect Poisonous Fungus, but lures the Romans into a maze of back alleys, where the legionaries become hopelessly lost (the prefect’s plan to leave behind a trail of pebbles to find his way out backfires when a legionary picks up the pebbles). Jellibabix gives the duo a parcel of sausages and meatballs, and arranges a chariot for them.

Nicae (Nice): En route to Nicae, Asterix and Obelix become stuck in holiday traffic bound for the Gaulish Riviera and stop at an inn for lunch. In Nicae, they buy salad and are once again spotted by a Roman patrol. They escape by sea and commandeer a vacationing Lutetian’s rowboat.

Massilia (Marseille): The Gauls stop at Cesar Drinklikafix’s inn where, aside from having goat’s milk and boar, they buy fish stew. Again, the pair makes a premature departure when a boy warns of approaching Romans, but Drinklikafix and his friends stall the soldiers by blocking the road with a game of pétanque.

Tolosa (Toulouse): En route to Tolosa, Asterix and Obelix stop for the night, unaware they are in a Roman camp. Next morning, they beat up the Romans, but then surrender after learning the centurion intended to take them to Tolosa by cart. The Gauls are chained up, but repeatedly break their chains, much to the blacksmith’s dismay. Out on the road, the centurion rides on ahead to bring over the prefect, but in his absence, Asterix and Obelix beat up the Romans again, make off with the cart, and buy sausages in Tolosa.

Aginum (Agen): The Romans announce a 50,000 sestertii reward for information leading to the arrest of Asterix and Obelix. An unscrupulous innkeeper, Uptotrix, invites the two Gauls to his inn, where he gives them a bag of prunes and serves them drugged boar. Suspecting betrayal, Asterix orders Uptotrix to taste the boar, which causes him to fall unconscious, although Obelix is unaffected despite eating the rest of the boar. The pair leaves the cart in Aginum and takes the horses, one of which collapses under the combined weight of Obelix and the shopping bag.

Burdigala (Bordeaux): En route, the Gauls rest for the night by a roadside, where their bag is stolen by two Roman highwaymen, Villanus and Unscrupulus. The next morning, Asterix and Obelix pursue the thieves, who are caught by a Roman patrol and mistaken them for the Gauls. In the town square of Burdigala, General Motus shows the “Gaulish outlaws” to the public, only to realize he has the wrong men when Asterix and Obelix arrive to reclaim their bag. The public attacks General Motus and his men while the heroes regain their bag and buy oysters and white wine.

Gesocribatum (Le Conquet): Before leaving Burdigala, Asterix and Obelix spy a ship offloading menhirs and meet Captain Seniorservix, who is honored to let them aboard as Obelix helps unload the menhirs before the ship’s departure. At sea, the ship runs into the recurring pirates, whose own ship is sunk by the Gauls. On arrival in Gesocribatum, Seniorservix smuggles the Gauls ashore in sacks. Asterix and Obelix get out when a Roman patrol is passing by, but they beat up the Romans and escape.

Eventually, Asterix and Obelix reach the stockade outside their village and, after beating up the Romans yet again, give them a message to tell Overanxius they have won their side of the bet. That night, Asterix shows the food and wine to Overanxius and Lotuseatus, before demonstrating the village’s specialty, ‘the uppercut’, which knocks out Overanxius. Moments before the punch, Dogmatix barks for the first time, making Obelix notice him. Dogmatix is given a bone and the villagers enjoy their banquet.

My Thoughts:

I think I have settled into the rhythm of this comic. Considering that each comic tells one story, that’s a good thing. I’m not looking for anything deeper now, just brawling Gauls having fun 🙂

That is all that there is to this. I think that is the secret to its staying power too. It’s not complicated, it isn’t based on any politics or ideas of the day (which age books and stories extremely fast), it is just Asterix having light hearted adventures with his best friend Obelix. In one of the earlier reviews I mentioned the formula for these books. As long as I don’t pay attention, that formula works perfectly.

What that does mean though is that pretty soon, my “reviews” are going to consist of the synopsis and me saying something like “Yep, I liked it” and that’s it. I’m not looking forward to that time I have to admit. I like to be able to write something about each book I read, to make it stand apart from the thousands of others I’ve read but some times that desire meets the cold cruel wall of reality head on.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Song of Groo (Groo the Wanderer #1) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Song of Groo
Series: Groo the Wanderer #1
Author: Sergio Aragones
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 23
Words: 2K



Synopsis:

A minstrel is singing about the (mis)adventures of Groo the Wanderer. First he is supposed to catch some food for the kingdom, but ends up stampeding the whole herd off the cliff, thus destroying all the livestock. Then he is supposed to guard a bridge against enemies. He guards the bridge, but lets the enemies pass and sack the city, as his duty was to guard the bridge. Finally, he is sent out as a decoy to capture one city while the king captures another. Only Groo captures the first city and when the king hears about it, he marches off to claim it for himself. One of Groo’s soldiers tells him the king had sent him off as a decoy and he wasn’t actually supposed to capture the city. So Groo gives the city back and the king and his army get the stuffing beaten out of them.

The book ends with Groo coming into the tavern, laughing at the stupid idiot in the song, only to realize it is himself and he starts chasing the minstrel with his swords drawn.

My Thoughts:

I had to do a bit of research before I could catalog this, as “Groo” had a tumultuous beginning. The creator, Argones, started with one independent press that went out of business, then did some standalones or small runs of Groo until Epic Comics picked him up. So technically, this series I’m reading is Groo the Wanderer Vol 2, Issue 1. Don’t worry about it, there are 120 issues for this run 😀 But what it does mean is that there are 12-20 comics about Groo before this that I can’t get a hold of. I don’t think it affects anything, but without reading them, who knows?

The first thing that struck me as I opened this issue was how busy it was. Mrs B was looking over my shoulder and commented that it reminded her of a Where’s Waldo page. Here’s the first page of the issue:

Clickable for a high-res version.

This was very light hearted and humorous and had no overarching narrative plot. To be honest, I think that is perfect for a once a month comic of only 23 pages. I hope the comic stays that way because sometimes you need a break from Big Stories. Even when you like them, Big Stories can be tiring.

On another note, the editor for this series is Archie Goodwin. I had to go look that up to see if it was a joke or what. Turns out it is his real name and as far as Wikipedia was concerned, had no relation or bearing from the Archie Goodwin in the Nero Wolfe mystery books by Rex Stout. Not a big thing, but it was another humorous aspect to this comic 🙂

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Barrelhaven (Bone #5) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Barrelhaven
Series: Bone #5
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The rat creature surround the farmhouse and Gran’ma Ben tells Fone Bone and Thorn to run while she fights off the rat creatures. While running the two get surrounded by rat creatures and Fone Bone calls out for The Great Red Dragon’s help. The dragon appears and chases the army away. The dragon returns Fone Bone and Thorn to the farmhouse to find it destroyed. Phoney Bone arrives at the Barrelhaven Tavern and finds Smiley Bone who is working there as a bartender. He also meets Lucius Down, the owner of the tavern and gets on his bad side as well. Phoney learns that they don’t use money here, meaning that he has to work at the tavern to pay of his debt.

My Thoughts:

Man, Phoney Bone just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut or to stay out of trouble. 10 minutes in the tavern and he’s already a problem child. It makes me wonder how he got so rich in the first place! He’s not that clever, just more clever than either of his cousins. Which isn’t saying much, hahahahaa!

Gran’ma Ben reveals a side that while not unexpected (she does race cows and wins after all), isn’t what you’d expect. Busting through her own walls, throttling the rat creatures and saying how she’d be just fine because she fought in the “Big War”. There is history to this valley that none of the Bone’s are aware of nor does it seem like Thorn is either. The dragon reveals himself fully to Thorn in rescuing Fone and in the process reveals that there is some sort of agreement between him and Kingdok (the king of the rat creatures), probably going back to said “Big War”.

With just a few phrases, Smith has given the readers clues that this valley is not just an idyllic place that the Bones have stumbled into and brought trouble with them. Trouble has already been here and beaten back. What is amazing is the fact that he just used a few phrases. He isn’t spending the next 6 issues fleshing out the history and telling us every single detail and removing our chance to use our imagination. But he doesn’t leave the past alone either. It’s a fine line to walk (a line which Spawn failed miserably at) and I think he does an admirable job of balancing it all.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Asterix the Gladiator (Asterix #4) ★★★★☆

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Title: Asterix the Gladiator
Series: Asterix #4
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Translators: Bell & Hockridge
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 51
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

While stopping at the Roman Camp of Compendium, Prefect ‘Odius Asparagus’ wants one of the indomitable Gauls as a present for Julius Caesar. Because none of the others can be captured, Centurion Gracchus Armisurplus decides on Cacofonix the bard. Soldiers sent by the centurion, although driven away by Cacofonix’s singing at first, counteract this by stuffing parsley in their ears and capture him easily. A young boy named Picanmix from the village raises the alarm to Asterix and Obelix, and the Gauls attack Compendium; but learn that the prefect has already left in his galley with Cacofonix.

Asterix and Obelix therefore board a ship with Ekonomikrisis the Phoenician merchant, who agrees to take them to Rome after they save him from the pirates. In Rome, after Cacofonix has subjected the slaves in the prefect’s galley to his bad singing, the prefect presents him to Julius Caesar; but when Caius Fatuous, the gladiators’ trainer, declares Cacofonix unfit to serve as a gladiator, Caesar decides to throw the bard to the lions. Upon arrival in Rome, Asterix and Obelix befriend Instantmix (a Gaulish chef working in Rome) and visit the public baths. There, Caius Fatuous decides they would be perfect candidates for the gladiators’ fights in the Circus Maximus, and he arranges to have them captured. That night, Asterix and Obelix visit Instantmix in his insula, where he identifies the location of Cacofonix. The next morning, the Gauls’ first attempt at rescuing the bard fails when they raid the Circus prison and discover that Cacofonix has been transferred to a lower basement. Caius Fatuous has his men try to ambush them in groups of three, but Asterix and Obelix defeat them with ease, and apparently without taking notice.

Caius Fatuous then offers a reward of 10,000 sestertii to any citizen who captures Asterix and Obelix; but the two of them volunteer as gladiators to infiltrate the following Games, and Fatuous places them in training under his assistant Insalubrius. Soon, the Gauls demoralize Insalubrius and irritate Caius Fatuous by having the other gladiators play guessing-games instead of training. Later, when Fatuous plans the Games to Julius Caesar, the Gauls go on a stroll, with Caius Fatuous (reluctantly) as their guide. On the eve before the games, Asterix and Obelix visit Cacofonix in his cell and inform him of their intentions to free him and the gladiators.

The next day, during the chariot races, Asterix and Obelix substitute themselves for an inebriated contestant, and win the race. As Cacofonix is put into the arena to be killed by the lions, he sings to the Romans, and thus frightens the lions into retreat; whereupon Caesar orders the gladiators’ competition to begin. When Asterix, Obelix, and the gladiators introduce Caesar to their guessing-game, and Caesar insists on a martial contest, Asterix challenges a cohort of Caesar’s own guard, and the two Gauls win easily. Seeing that the audience are amused, Caesar releases the three Gauls and grants them Fatuous as a prisoner. Soon afterwards, the four men meet back up with Ekonomikrisis, and Asterix surprises him and his men by having Caius Fatuous row the ship back to the Gaulish Village alone. After a brief journey (plus a second run in with the pirates, which sinks their ship), the Gauls arrive home and Ekonomikrisis keeps his promise to return Caius Fatuous to Rome. The villagers then celebrate the return of their heroes with a banquet, only with Cacofonix having to sit it out bound and gagged after offering to sing a song to celebrate his triumphant return.

This book is noteworthy in the Asterix series as the first in which Obelix says his famous catchphrase “These Romans are crazy!”

My Thoughts:

Fun. Cacofonix the Bard gets kidnapped, only to be shut up time and again every time someone hears him sing. Even Asterix and Obelix threaten to not take him back to Gaul if he tries to sing to them at the end of the book. How can that not make you laugh?

The running gag for this story is Obelix playing a game of “hit the romans” and using their helmets as proof that he knocked them out. You seem him constantly with a huge pile of roman helmets lined up like soup bowls in his arms every time he meets a new group of them. There were a couple of word plays that went right over my head, as I didn’t see what what was supposed to be funny, but missing a joke here or there isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, a good way to spend the evening.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kingdok (Bone #4) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Kingdok
Series: Bone #4
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The day before the spring fair Fone Bone and Phoney Bone do chores around the farmhouse. After Fone Bone tells Phoney about the great cow race and how they bet on the races Phoney Bone thinks of a new scam and runs off to Barrelhaven. While traveling to Barrelhaven, Phoney Bone encounters the two rat creatures and Kingdok. He overhears that they are looking for a “small bald creature with a star on its chest”. The rat creatures are summoned to a high council by “The Hooded One” who sends every rat creature in the valley to attack the farmhouse.

My Thoughts:

Things take a turn for the serious here. Not only are the 2 rat creatures here, but we are introduced to their king, Kingdok, who is on a scale larger than them as they are to Fone Bone. And we meet the Hooded One, who appears to be leading Kingdok, and who knows the dragon that is guarding Fone.

Phoney Bone is still causing trouble on the farm but runs away to the town to do some betting. He overhears the 2 rats and Kingdok and I do wish he’d been caught and eaten. Oh well, can’t have everything I want in a comic I guess.

The issue ending with a horde of rat creatuers surrounding the farm of Gran’ma Ben really hits home the point that this comic is not going to be a bunch of panels of talking heads (like the Peanuts) or one issue gags (like Garfield). Smith has a big story to tell and I felt like we as readers fell down the rabbit hole in this issue. There’s no going back and no way out except forward.

If you’d like a review of the whole series at once (I’m going to be taking years at this pace), Jeroen recently reviewed the Complete Bone. Just remember, he’s a jaded european, not a bright, cheery, optimistic American like me. So take his review with a grain or three of salt 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Phoney Bone (Bone #3) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Phoney Bone
Series: Bone #3
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

At the farmhouse Fone Bone helps Thorn with the chores while waiting for Gran’ma Ben. Fone Bone shows Thorn what’s in his knapsack including the map they found in the desert which Thorn finds familiar. Phoney Bone meets Gran’ma Ben and instantly gets on her bad side. Fone and Phoney are reunited when Gran’ma Ben arrives back at the farmhouse. Phoney starts eating a pie Thorn made especially for Gran’ma Ben and he shoves the remaining part in Fone’s mouth and blames him.

My Thoughts:

While we “met” Phoney Bone in issue 1, it was just a couple of panels. Here we get a couple of pages and my goodness, he’s the most selfish creature around. He’s the reason the Bones were run out of Boneville in the first place and I have to wonder how much trouble he is going to have to get his cousins into before they abandon him to his just desserts. He isn’t malevolently evil, but he’s in no way good. I can’t remember for the life of me if Smith redeems him by the end or just leaves him as a foil to Fone.

And while I’m thinking about it, why did Smith choose to use Fone and Phoney as names? They’re too close. I found myself several times thinking in my head “Fonee Bone” and having to stop and think a second about who I was actually reading about. Visually, they quite different so there’s no issue there. But being a words person, I did get tripped up a couple of times.

Smith continues to draw me into this world with little things here and there. Thorn recognizing the map and telling Fone it was like one in her dreams. Means there’s going to be mysticism in this series and probably not just funny vignettes. For 28 pages, Smith has once again kept my interest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Myths, Part II (Spawn #15) ★★☆☆☆

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Title: Myths, Part II
Series: Spawn #15
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

The Clown’s story continues. Medieval Spawn survives the Violator’s blast, but he is horribly disfigured. Even in this state, however, he is able to best Violator with the help of his living suit’s imprisoning tendrils. The Violator’s severed head is hoisted aloft as a grisly trophy of their demonic battle. Ironically, the woman he sought to protect from the Violator is sickened by Spawn’s true form and flees in flight.

The Spawn lays in an alley peacefully resting. When the owner comes out mad that bums in his alley are begging and foraging for scraps, the owner physically pushes Spawn around. Spawn is fed up with people trying to tell him what to do. He beats the man down and barks that this is now spawn territory. The man cowers away.

In Queens, New York, Terry Fitzgerald lays awake, terrified as the mob’s men have threatened his family again and he doesn’t know what to do.

My Thoughts:

So this whole “Myths” story was standing St. George and the Dragon on it’s head. With the Violator being the dragon and Medieval Spawn being St. George. It really pissed me off that the Princess runs away from Medieval Spawn when he reveals his tortured form. I can understand that she doesn’t want to get all “Hugs & Kisses” with him but to run away from him after he’d saved her life and killed the Violator that was torturing her? It also raised the question, to me, of WHY was Medieval Spawn all burnt up too? It doesn’t happen to every Spawn because we saw the fat child killer who became a Spawn candidate still in “prime” condition. And speaking of Medieval Spawn.

Below is an illustration of the fantastic work that McFarlane can do, when he wants to. It is a great illustration of the talents he has. The problem with it is that it simply makes the times where he rough sketches things in that much more noticeable.

Part of me can understand not doing this level of work for every panel but at the same time, why not? Why isn’t McFarlane putting out his best for the whole issue? Why does this particular spread get the love treatment while Terry in his boxers looks almost like a crayon drawing at the end?

Between everything that I’ve experienced with this comic in these 15 issues, nothing has made me want to continue. I don’t like Spawn. I don’t like his human Al Simmons. I don’t like the 2 cops. I don’t like the badguys and I don’t like Wanda. I don’t like the city or the situations and I don’t like the universe portrayed. So I’m done with Spawn. 15 issues is enough of “testing the waters”. Any more testing and I’d be asking for Jaws to come chomp me up into little itty bitty pieces.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Asterix and the Goths (Asterix #3) ★★★★☆

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Title: Asterix and the Goths
Series: Asterix #3
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Translators: Bell & Hockridge
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 51
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Asterix and Obelix, nervous about Getafix traveling alone to the annual druids’ conference in the Forest of the Carnutes, accompany him on his journey and remain outside the forest during the conference. Meanwhile, on the Roman Empire’s border, two legionaries are captured by a band of Goths (Tartaric, Esoteric, Atmospheric, Prehistoric, and Choleric), intending to kidnap the Druid of the Year and use his skills to conquer Gaul and Rome.[3]

En route to the Forest, Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix meet another druid, Valueaddedtax, who uses his magical powers to convince the Romans to let them pass. At the edge of the Forest of the Carnutes, Getafix and his friend leave Asterix and Obelix for the druid’s conference. Unaware that the Goth band is hiding nearby, the druids enter their inventions in a contest, in which Getafix wins the “Golden Menhir” prize with his potion, which gives superhuman strength. As he leaves his colleagues, the Goths take him prisoner. Asterix and Obelix, fearing for their friend’s safety after they do not see him leave the Forest, enter the woods and find a Visigoth helmet (actually a pickelhaube like those worn by Germans during the first years of World War I). They instantly set out towards the east (thoroughly confusing Obelix) to rescue Getafix.

Unfortunately, they run into another Roman patrol, which spots the helmet Asterix is carrying and mistakes them for Goths (who are wanted for assaulting Roman border guards). Obelix and Asterix easily defeat the Romans, but the Roman general is informed of the incident and sends out pictures of Asterix and Obelix with a reward for their capture.

Asterix has the bright idea of disguising himself and Obelix as Romans and ambush two legionaries, stealing their armor and weapons and leaving them tied up and gagged. Two other legionaries, searching for the Goths, come across our heroes, in which Obelix’s laughter at what they should say if they meet other Romans almost blows his and Asterix’s cover. Soon after, the two legionaries spot the two tied-up Romans and mistake them for Asterix and Obelix, “a fat one and a little one”. Thinking another Legionary captured them and has gone for reinforcements, they decide to take the reward, and take the prisoners to the general’s tent. When the captives are ungagged, however, the full story comes out, and the Romans promptly begin capturing each other left and right, believing each other to be Goths, much to the disappointment of the General. Asterix and Obelix, back in Gaulish clothing, are completely untouched, along with the Goths, who approach the border.

The Goths cross the Roman Empire’s border back into Germania, stunning a young legionary whose eagerness to report an invasion becomes a running gag. (He initially reports an “invasion” of Goths invading the Goths, then an invasion of Gauls crossing into Germania — which his centurion dismisses as their territory is not the one being invaded—, and then finally reports the Gauls returning to Gaul, which causes him to get 8 days inside). They present the druid first to a customs officer, who at first refuses to let them through on charges of importing foreign goods. Eventually, the Goths present Getafix to their Gothic chieftain, Metric, calls in a Gaulish-Gothic translator, Rhetoric, who is threatened to be executed if he does not convince Getafix to cooperate and brew magic potion. Although Getafix flatly refuses, Rhetoric lies and says that he has agreed to do so in a week’s time, at the New Moon.

Meanwhile, Asterix and Obelix also stun the young legionary and enter the Gothic lands. While running into a Gothic border patrol, Obelix stupidly uses the cover up names he and Asterix used for their Roman disguises, making the patrol think the Gauls are Romans. After Asterix and Obelix beat up the patrol, they disguise themselves as Goths by attacking two of them, infiltrating their barracks as members of the army. They escape from the Gothic army, but are soon captured again by the Goths and thrown in jail along with Rhetoric, who was also trying to flee. Although they are thrown in prison, Obelix easily breaks the door (another running gag) and they flee, taking Rhetoric with them to question. While at first he pretends to speak only Gothic, Rhetoric accidentally reveals that he can speak Gaulish and is forced to spill the beans. While trying to sneak into the Gothic town, Rhetoric screams and attracts a patrol. Although Asterix and Obelix beat up the patrol, they surrender to the last standing man to be brought to the Chief.

The Gauls are brought before Metric. Getafix reveals that he can actually speak Gothic and informs Metric that Rhetoric had been deceiving him. Once again, Rhetoric is thrown in jail with the Gauls, and they are all sentenced to execution. Asterix, Obelix and Getafix devise a scheme in which many Goths are given magic potion, so that they spend time and energy fighting each other for chieftainship instead of invading Gaul and Rome, making Rhetoric play a part in it. Under the pretext of cooking a last Gaulish soup, Getafix gives the jailer a list of ingredients and brews the potion when he acquires them. During the public execution, Rhetoric asks to go first. Full of magic potion, he resists all attempts at torture, and beats up Metric, throwing him in jail and making himself Chieftain of the Goths. The Gauls visit Metric in his prison, and give him magic potion. As the two Chieftains had the same magic potion in them, a direct fight proves futile and each storms off, promising to raise an army.

The Gauls wander around the town, giving potions to any Goth who looks browbeaten and who would be glad of a chance of power (their first two candidates being Electric, who is poor and has to sweep up streets, and Euphoric, who is being bossed about by his dictator-like wife). The would-be Chieftains each raise an army, and a confusing set of conflicts begins, known as the “Asterixian Wars”, thus successfully sowing so much discord in Germania that the tribes be more occupied with fighting each other rather than trying to invade other countries.

Although their peace-keeping mission probably created more casualties than a Gothic invasion of Rome would, the three Gauls make it back to Gaul, again running into the over-eager young legionary at the border, return home confident and are welcomed with open arms by the village, who throw their usual banquet in celebration.

My Thoughts:

This made for a great read on a Saturday morning. Sitting on our old comfy couch, eating Stouffer’s fried mac&cheese poppers while drinking diet Mt Dew and reading about gauls beating the stuffing out of Romans, Ostrogoths and Visigoths. What more could you ask for?

Light hearted fun is all these stories offer and so if you only expect that, you’ll be fine. I think my problems that I experienced with the previous book was that I was expecting something more inline with a series of novels, where characters grow and change and the world is explained more and more. Here, Asterix is Asterix, Obelix is Obelix and that’s just the way they’re going to be.

The names of various Gauls, Romans and Goths continues to be as amusing as ever. It did however make me want to investigate the older translations of these to see what they were then. Because it might be a case of the translators making up their own jokes and that would really color my view of the whole thing.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Myths, Part I (Spawn #14) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Myths, Part I
Series: Spawn #14
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

The Clown, being a master of self-promotion, tells the story of a long-ago clash with Medieval Spawn to a small lot of alley kids. He portrays the ancient warrior in the worst possible light and describing him as evil. He takes creative liberties explaining he was the hero of the story. During a battle, a kick from Spawn’s horse sends Violator flying, something snaps inside him and he unleashes a gout of mystical fire. The Violator cackles in triumph over the smoking form of his fallen foe.

Spawn curses himself for letting his emotions get the best of him. Now that Chapel knows he’s still alive, he can no longer remain a shadow. People may discover he’s still alive and come for him.

My Thoughts:

We get the Violator, still in clown form, telling a group of boys a story about his battle with another Spawn 800 years ago. The words he says are at complete odds with the pictures drawn so you know he’s lying out of his teeth. It would seem another Spawn had defied Malebolgia, thus giving us the hint that our Spawn might be treading in the footsteps of another like him.

I have to admit, I don’t think I’m going to make it to the end of the year with this series. It is just too stupid. I’ve mentioned this before, but Spawn is supposed to be a Special Forces kind of guy. He doesn’t let his emotions rule him but so far, that is ALL he’s done in all 14 issues. One stupid mistake or decision after another because of his emotions. It’s not that I want him to be emotionless but I don’t want to see him ruled by his emotions and McFarlane doesn’t go down that route.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Flashback, Part II (Spawn #13) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Flashback, Part II
Series: Spawn #13
Author: Todd McFarlane
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 25
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Imagecomics.fandom.com

Spawn recalls playing a baseball game and breaking his ankle. All he can remember is how beautiful she was and how they made love until the sun came up the next morning.

Spawn decides to focus on finding the man who killed him, Chapel.

At Youngblood headquarters, Badrock is on guard duty but distracted by video games. When Spawn trips a silent alarms, he finds Chapel along with teammates Diehard and Shaft. Spawn teleports himself and Chapel to Botswana to complete his fight.

Terry Fitzgerald finds it hard to fall asleep. Now that two men have harassed him, he knows he’s on a watch list which is hard to get on. Yet he can’t figure out why they’d be checking into him.

Twitch Williams and Sam Burke rejoice in their investigation finally being lifted for the murder of Billy Kincaid.

In Botswana, Chapel recalls the orders from Jason Wynn to take out his target when things got hairy. Snapping back into the present, he wrestles with Spawn and exchanges punches. Spawn drives the point home by disfiguring the Chapel’s face with a horrific brand, that resembles the facial warpaint he wore when he murdered Al. As Spawn leaves Chapel, he activates the Youngblood tracking mechanism.

Eight hours later, Shaft and Badrock arrive and ask what Spawn said to him. With a disgusted and angry look, Chapel simply replies with, “Nothing” as he gets on their plane to leave.

My Thoughts:

So Spawn hunts down the guy who killed him originally. He infiltrates the Youngblood’s headquarters (Youngblood’s were Image’s version of the Justice League or the Avengers), teleports Chapel back to where Chapel killed him and proceeds to pummel the ever living daylight out of him. Spawn uses his magic to give Chapel a skull face like his old costume and then leaves him to be found.

The fight boiled down to a couple of punches thrown and the two of them angrily exchanging macho “I’m tougher than you” stupid talk. It was actually kind of embarrassing to read. It also brought home the point that McFarlane is deliberately writing for teenagers. Instead of showcasing Spawn getting some good intel from the badguy the focus is them fighting and Spawn getting his revenge. I’m sure in future volumes Spawn will use the intel from this guy but it will be of the “remember when I beat the crap out of my old killer, well, he told me….” variety.

On a complete side note. I’ve never read the Youngblood comics but after this little introduction I definitely won’t be. I get the “grim and gritty” vibe from them and I’d bet my bottom dollar that the comics are filled with questionable morals about human life and heroism in general.

Rating: 2 out of 5.