French anthro comic: Solo, T. 2, by Oscar Martin – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Solo. T.2, Le Coeur et le Sang, by Oscar Martin.
Paris, Delcourt, January 2016, hardcover €16,95 (109 [+ 1] pages).
Oops. This volume 2, The Heart and the Blood, almost got away from Lex Nakashima & me. Volume 3 is out already. Expect a review of it soon.
I said of volume 1, “The setting: a bleak, war-destroyed future Earth. Think MGM’s/Hugh Harman’s 1939 animated Peace on Earth, where the last humans on Earth kill each other and leave the world to the peaceful funny animals; or the similar sequence in Alexander Korda’s 1936 live-action feature Things to Come, where England (and presumably the whole human race) has been bombed and shot up back to the Stone Age. It’s Mad Max with furries.”
That’s still true of vol. 2. Quoting from my review of volume 1 again, I said, “Solo is a brawny teenaged rat-equivalent of the young Conan the Barbarian, but a lot smarter. In the first few pages, he and his warrior father are shown fighting giant, mutated monsters in a freezing winter landscape for food for their family, and killing rival mustelid warriors ready to eat them. Solo and his father win, but it is obvious to all that Solo’s family is slowly starving. Solo, a huge teenager, decides to leave so his parents and siblings won’t have to share their food with him.”
Solo spends most of volume 1 as an almost brain-dead gladiatorial warrior in a human-run arena. It’s clear that he could escape whenever he wants, but is there anyplace else in the world worth escaping to? He finally finds such a place; a new home and a wife. He finds that life is worth living again.
Of course, this now gives him responsibilities – to his wife and to his community.
The Heart and the Blood is divided into two sections; the story of 73 pages, and a mixture of “technical notes” (some of the other intelligent species of Solo’s “cannibal world”) and short independent stories.
The main story begins with a winter hunting party that includes Solo and his wife Lyra. The survivor of a two-hunter group reports that they were ambushed by a military squad of monkeys, led by a human commander, before a mutant monster killed them all. That is ominous, but more troubling for Solo is when a new party of refugees join their rat community, including Grand, an old friend of Lyra’s from her original home. Although Lyra and Grand are more of a big-brother and little-sister, Solo becomes overly jealous of him. Matters degenerate until Solo leaves on a one-rat hunting trip to get away from Lyra and Grand.
This story is intercut with that of the human and monkey soldiers’ city. They are from a new (to Solo’s village) militaristic community. Their governor says that their hunting parties have been suffering increasing casualties. He proposes to attack the nearest rat community, kill most of the males, and bring the females and children back to breed them for food. “The males, controlled by drugs, can impregnate the females. The intensive rat reproduction on our farms will guarantee us constant food without any risk.”
Solo survives alone for weeks. He’s used to being alone; he prefers it. He meets his father and his brother Bravo, and learns that the rest of his family has been killed. Solo returns home to find that his village has been wiped out by the humans and monkeys, but Grand has helped Lyra to escape with him. Solo knows that he should be grateful to Grand, but he can’t help continuing being jealous. Grand, who has his own more-than-brotherly feelings toward Lyra, nobly defuses the situation by leaving, so that Solo and Lyra can begin a new tribe.
The Heart and the Blood has a happy ending, but the “coming soon” announcement of vol. 3 means it can’t last.
Oscar Martin is a Spanish comics artist in Barcelona. According to the Internet, he and an animator friend recently tried to raise €12,000 on Indiegogo to animate Solo. They didn’t get it. Does anyone want to help them?
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