After leaving Adrénaline, the daughter of Vercingétorix in the care of Asterix and Obelix in the previous episode of the same name, Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad this time sent our favorite Gauls to the great cold of the East among the Sarmatians. For this 39th album, entitled Asterix and the Griffin, the two heroes accompanied by Panoramix wishing to come to the aid of a distant friend, will go in search of the Griffin, a creature half-eagle, half-lion, coveted by the Romans.
This new volume which comes out Thursday, October 21 in bookstores with Albert René editions, is the fifth under the leadership of Ferri and Conrad.
The story : Getafix feels the call of an old friend in a moment of dozing off. From then on, the druid takes care of making the magic potion and summons Asterix and Obelix to leave. The three characters assisted by Idefix will then embark on a distant adventure that will lead them to meet the Sarmatians, a people who live between present-day Ukraine and Mongolia. Asterix and Obelix have for mission to help the former friend of the druid, as well as all the Sarmatians, to thwart the wishes of Caesar.
The master of Rome orders his troops to bring back the Griffin, a mythological animal native to this region. The geographer Terrinconus (character showing a clear resemblance to the writer Michel Houellebecq) then relies on the capture of a Sarmatian Amazon to carry out his mission.
This hostage-taking is the starting point of the story. She leads Asterix and his companions to reach these distant lands. As the story unfolds, they will have to assist the Amazon warriors who protect the village.
Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad succeed with this last opus to plunge the reader into a refreshing adventure. With these vast snowy scenery and the rescue of a friend, this title may remind comic book fans of a certain Tintin in Tibet in which the little Belgian reporter is going to save Tchang. But the humor and the gags present in this title immediately refer to the universe of the Gaul. Admittedly, the village of heroes does not appear until the very end of the book for the traditional banquet, but the Sarmatian camp reflects, like an inverted mirror, the small society that lives in Armorica. Because among the Sarmatians, it is women, more precisely the Amazons who command and go to war.
Despite their bravery, their power but also their beauty, these warriors remain slightly in the shadow of the two protagonists. A somewhat regrettable aspect given the nature of the combatants. But it brings out all the character traits of Asterix who seems more skillful than ever when he finds himself without a magic potion. Besides, the absence of the Getafix mixture relegates the druid to a very small role. But his presence gives rise to some pretty funny scenes, with a certain Klorokine. The other damaging point is the lack of explanation for the departure of the Gauls to this mysterious country. Ferri and Conrad have chosen to make an ellipse on the reasons and on the course of the characters. A decision that can confuse readers who have not followed the announcements concerning the album.
But once you arrive in the Sarmatian village, there is everything that makes a good Asterix. The Gallic duo is perfectly complementary to the test of the Romans, all supported by Idéfix which is decisive. The humor works thanks to its many puns and gags. The many parallels with our society, thanks to the speeches of the legionaries, also make people smile. A pleasant plot to navigate that could well seduce fans of the famous mustache.
“Asterix and the Griffon” by Jean-Yves Ferri & Didier Conrad. Editions Albert René, 48 pages, € 9.99. Released October 21, 2021.