La Saga d’Atlas & Axis, t.4, by Pau – French comic review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

album-cover-large-31145La Saga d’Atlas & Axis, t.4, by Pau.
Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, September 2016, hardcover €12.90 (60 + [3] pages).

Lex Nakashima & I again present our conspiracy to get you to read French animalière bandes dessinées; in volume 4 ET DERNIER of the Saga of Atlas & Axis!

If you’ve been following Jean-Marc Pau’s adventures of the two talking dogs since t.1 was published in August 2011, here is the conclusion.

Frankly, this isn’t at all what I was expecting – so much so that I’m tempted to ignore this ending and leave the series hanging. For two reasons. Firstly, it’s much more somber and melancholy than I’d expected. I don’t demand a happy ending, but this is depressing. Secondly, the whole purpose of Nakashima’s and my conspiracy is to present French-language anthro-animal comics that aren’t likely to be published in English; and the publication of this whole series in English has just been announced! More on this below.

For three albums now, Atlas (Afghan hound) and Axis (terrier mutt) have wandered the world of Pangea, searching for the Magic Bone of Khimera (whatever that is) that would prove whether wolves and dogs were created independently, or whether dogs evolved from wolves. It was easy to see Pangea as a funny-animal 10th-century Europe, with Viking raiders and the “where did dogs come from” controversy standing for the religious debates within Christianity of that time. The only thing that didn’t fit were the exploding sheep, and that could be dismissed as Pau being humorous.

In this final volume, the world of Pangea turns out to be A LOT earlier! Atlas & Axis have anticlimactic adventures with the Mutton Sect (sheep aren’t goats!), and a sentient Tyrannosaur. They finally find that Khimera is a place. Its entrance takes them far underground.

comics-atlas-01There they meet Doctor Fuz, an unknown animal (a cat), whose advanced civilization on the other side of Pangea, unknown to the dogs, is about to destroy the world. The two rival nations of the cats have each launched a giant moon, Luna and Ragnarok. Ragnarok’s orbit is unstable, and it’s just about to crash to Pangea. The crash, which is analogous to the meteor strike that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction around 65 million years ago, kills all life on Pangea! Only Atlas & Axis (and Doctor Fuz, and a few mice), far below the earth, escape it.

So life as we know it today, dominated by humans and with unintelligent dogs & cats (and nonexploding sheep, and without Tyrannosaurs), has evolved all over again. Will we be any smarter than the cats, and not destroy our Earth? Incidentally, Atlas & Axis died eons ago of old age.

Well. Finally, don’t miss the interview (in English) with Pau on, where he says that the whole series will be published in English by Titan Books in London in May 2017. He doesn’t say whether this translation will be four separate albums or a single 240-page novel. And despite his hints, I sure don’t see how there can be a sequel to this.

– Fred Patten