Blacksad: Âme Rouge

Blacksad - Ame RougeSummary: At the height of the “Red Scare”, John Blacksad finds himself tangled in a web of communist sympathizers and the powers that wish them dead. While the future peace between the world’s superpowers hangs in the balance, John finds a woman and a plot that will make him risk everything.

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Blacksad: Âme Rouge, by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido 8.25

Here’s another winner from Canales and Guarnido!

In ‘Âme Rouge’, the pair takes us into the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s, as Blacksad finds out that some of his old friends mingle in or are connected with “red” circles. In the shadows of building political pressure, and with the danger closing in on the “12 apostles”, a collective of high-profile communists, Blacksad finds himself trying to unveil the terrible truth about key players in this drama – including a dear friend.

Canales has almost matched ‘Arctic Nation’ with this effort. Although the tale takes a while to gain traction, given that Blacksad is between gigs, he has put together a riveting intrigue and fleshed out some excellent personalities and inter-personal dynamics. And whereas the first book was grittier, this one sets the stage slightly better, giving us a better understanding of where Blacksad’s head and heart are at from the onset all the way to the bittersweet ending.

Unfortunately, Guarnido’s work doesn’t quite rise to the occasion this time. With ‘Âme Rouge’, one gets the impression that he was pressed for time: the panels are spare, the detail is lacking and even the colouring seems rushed. If not for the previous two books, I would likely think nothing much of Guarnido’s work, based on this: there are only a few examples of the stellar ability he displayed in the other books. No joke, when comparing this one with ‘Arctic Nation’, there’s a distinct difference in quality; I’m not just being nit-picky.

Still, all in all, ‘Âme Rouge’ is an excellent book, a far better one than the average graphic novel, and is a fitting addition to the series thus far. It’s just that Canales and Guarnido have set the bar so very high that even they will sometimes not be able to meet expectations from time to time. Having said this, I would like to hope that they will take their sweet time with their upcoming books, so that they can continue to awe us in the way that we all know they can.

One response to “Blacksad: Âme Rouge

  1. Pingback: Blacksad: L’Enfer, le silence | thecriticaleye·

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