The Straw King 2. The Coronation of the Dead Queen

L
t is time for jubilation in Babylon. The curse that weighed on Nabù-kudduri-usur was swept away during the killing of his “straw man” and the fiancée of his heir apparent has just arrived with the Mede delegation. But, the refusal of Amel to consummate this union with a child, causes the elimination of Shamhat, the favorite of which he is madly in love. Going into rebellion against his father, the Babylonian prince chooses Sennedjem, survivor of the sacrifice, to assist him, and agrees with Neith so that she takes her offspring to Egypt where she has chosen to return.

After a first volume which had mistreated the heroes, Isabelle Dethan offers a second part with a perfectly orchestrated tragic dimension. Each element distilled previously finds its place and fits into a merciless frame whose conclusion is – too – clearly announced by the title. So when those in power plot to achieve their ends, those who suffer end up raising their heads and escaping it. Soon enough, the tale leaves the only city of Babylon to follow in the footsteps of Neith and his brother Sennedjem who have once again separated. One crosses the desert in the opposite direction, separating her from her native country, always aware of the fate that awaits her if she reappears from Pharaoh. The other lives his revenge through a war from which he hardly derives satisfaction, but which allows him to take the measure of the madness which is gradually gaining his protector.

Pleasantly accompanying the narration, the artist’s drawing is beautifully crafted and particularly seduced by its particularly bright coloring which contrasts with a rather dark subject. Each protagonist is well characterized and expressive, the sets are also rich and the framing is varied. From more intimate scenes to masterful views of the Babylonian city or the dunes of Sinai, the eye is delighted, which quickly makes you forget a few less successful close-ups or combat scenes lacking a little fluidity.

The coronation of the dead queen closes with dramatic majesty a skilfully conducted diptych which has captivated attention.

Read the column from volume 1.

Through M. Natali

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