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The Shadows of Thule review

aka Les Ombres de Thulé

Basil Poledouris's Conan the Barbarian soundtrack starts playing in the background... Have recent graphic novels been failing to enrich your lives lately? Time to rejoice! Humanoids, Inc. / Les Humanoïdes Associés come to us in our hour of need with a fresh new horror comic chock-full of deadly serious dark fantasy goodness.

Vallum Antonini, 163 AD. With the help of the enchantress Ithome, the vengeance consumed General Horatius of Rome wants to summon the Hirudinea, dark deities known as the Shadows of Thule to destroy the Pictish people who murdered his pregnant wife. Unbeknownst to him, Ithome has an ulterior plan: Use the Hirudinea to eradicate Rome!

Will the seals on the seven megaliths be reinforced in time? Will the Lovecraftian leeches be able break down this barrier that divides our dimensions?

With the assistance of the Gaels and Thorfel, a Hemsworth look-alike Celtic Roman soldier, will a doppelgänger of Robert E. Howard's Bran Mak Morn: The Last King of the Picts (Our sterile sire is strangely named Cormak Mac Fianna. NOT Cormac Mac Art, that's another Howard hero.) be able to reach the most northerly region of Scotland and stop this menace before it's game over for humankind?

Constantly in hammer time mode, Patrick Mallet's narrative of violence is almost completely devoid of humour! Even though Gaels and Gauls are not the same, Mr. Mallet could have poked a little fun at the sacred cow of French comics/bandes dessinées: The fearless Asterix the Gaul.

Haunted by the spectre of the Holocene extinction and heavily inspired by Pat Mills's Sláine comic books published by 2000 AD, the tale does drag on. We have about 62 pages of story here that is overly stretched to 124.

Montana Kane's translation is decent but a little uninspired at times. Lionel Marty's art is rough around the edges, but absolutely acceptable and Axel Gonzalbo's colours are perfectly fine.

I give it an 8/10. If you're into dietary fibre, lots of tentacles, Savage Sword of Conan pastiche comics, H. P. Lovecraft's Shudde M'ell/Chthonians/Dholes, friendly giants, magic, Welsh folklore, Irish mythology and/or Celtic stories then this sword and sorcery tale is tailor-made for you!

English version: ISBN-13: 978-1643376219

French version: ISBN-13: 978-2731624724

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