Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by LSCatilina, Aug 5, 2013.
Unfortunately I do not have access to those two volumes at this time.
Ah, that's too bad. Thanks anyways.
"La Ballade des Pendus" has been out for a while, but "Le Dieu Vert" is still pending. Probably after "Operation Downfall", which is supposed to be the follow-up to "Sur la route de Los Alamos".
I tend to be much more lenient towards this whole series than most of my colleagues here. I find them usually pleasant to read, with some pretty good ideas. I must however admit that they tend to have stories that are frustrating, bordering on infuriating, and so-so art (except for the Manchu covers). On the other hand, they are published under a "Série B" label that should indicate that it's not meant as a "high art" comic.
Got my hands on 19 - "Jaurès' Revenge" - and have to say that I missed the point of this one. A minor POD sets off a major POD, but the major POD occurs on the last page, and in the mean time we are left with a detective story that does not quite work and a political statement is, uh, confused. To wit, in OTL, Jaures, a French Socialist leader was assassinated in 1914 and his killer left off the hook due to some skulduggery. In TTL, the French Socialist party (French Section of the Workers' International - SFIO) hires a hitman to kill the killer. The trouble is that the killer has his own view on settling accounts and goes further than SFIO initially planned...
The hitman, on his own, determines that the real killers are the jury members who let the killer off the hook and spends years hunting them down and killing them as the cops try to put it together and senior SFIO members fret about what a scandal it will become if their role in all of this is discovered. The SFIO, however, make, uh, a sort of peace with what the killer did and then one particularly ambitious member utilizes this newfound "interventionist" model of social justice to take out Hitler in April of 1933.
This one is a curio. There is nothing wrong with the story per se, and the art is nice, but if there is a grand statement to be made here, I kinda missed it. And that's the part where I am confused, because the comic tries to make some kind of point about vengeance, justice, politics and social responsibility. It just gets muddled. Or at least maybe gets lost in translation.
20. "Red Dragon"
Front cover logline: Americans drop a nuke at Dien Bien Phu to save the French in '54
Actual logline: a detective story set in AH '55 Los Angeles on the eve of the Repub Convention
This story gets the nod for the most misleading cover Jour J has ever done. The cover shows the nuclear strike in 'Nam with French troops looking on and makes you think it is about that. Nope. It's set in Los Angeles a year after. Asia is the theme, but China is much more important to the story than 'Nam, and the key things that occur in the story happen even before the alleged shown POD on the cover. And here's the fun part - it's a good story. Some knee jerk ridiculous things still apply (the French left have a terribly romantic notion about Wobblies), but it's a good story, but I can see a Francophone comic reader picking this up based on the cover and then being annoyed the story is nothing to do with what they expected. And I can see Americans thinking they are going to get a curious story on 'Nam and not getting that either.
The story is as follows, after the nuke gets dropped, things escalate and Mao invades Taiwan. US springs into action. A war starts in earnest. Meanwhile in California, Senator McCarthy (hang on, I know, I know, I know) has whipped up folks into seeing Fifth Columnists in every person of Chinese descent and the Committee on Anti-American Activities has authorized agents (replete with detective shields in their wallets) that rounds up suspected disloyal Chinese and interns them in camps in the desert (though there are references regular cops are used for this duty as well). Our hero is a hard drinking down on his luck former cop turned private detective (you can guess that I am already approving this character, based on my own work) who has a dame walk into his office and ask him to find her missing father. The dame is Chinese as is her father, but connected to the Republicans and the anti-Communist Chinese whom McCarthy is protecting. Our hero does not wish to do anything, but realizes she has money and takes on the case.
Naturally as soon as the femme leaves the office, shady people try to warn off our not so stalwart hero off the case and he does not take the hint out of pride and ego. By this point, I was of course all in on the story.
Our hero tries to get information from a friendly cop he once knew when both were on the force and he gently warns him off the case, while giving him some background info. And then naturally, our hero gets a third warning from the mayor's aide of all things, who is a smallish fella and is naturally flanked by a pair of goons. While the first set of goons tried rough stuff and the friendly cop tried to just warn off, the aide - an oily tick - offers a bribe in the form of finding work for the down on his luck hero, such as being head of security for the Convention. Of course our hero turns it down, because a man has to have standards. At this point, I was rooting on for the story pretty hard.
The aide leaves, shaking his head at the sadness of all this foolishness, and the hero's neighbor, a not quite middle aged overripe blonde dame overhears the issue and barges in, drinks with our hero and beds him, because that's how detective stories go. And here we get our first Chekhov's piano - the blonde dame was once married to a Wobblie until he was murdered in '38 by no doubt fascist goons and she has no tuck with Repubs and is woke. This will become important later.
Our hero, being a hard-headed sort, goes to the cops to find more info and is thrown out of the station and warned off officially this time. He does not take the hint and goes to badger the aide at the Convention, where he is once again warned off, but talks to the press to find out that there is movement afoot to dump Nixon from the Repub ticket. Our hero pokes around this story and we learn that Nixon is connected to Howard Hughes and is corrupt as they come, and is a good anti-Communist, but he is against the war with China.
Our hero uses his advance from the Chinese dame to pay off his debt at the liquor store and get some more booze, along the way we get banter about US foreign policy that is about as subtle as ATF at Waco and the upshot is that United States is a blundering idiot in foreign policy (*sigh* yes, I am reading a French comic, why do you ask?).
Back at the blonde dame's place, our hero learns what she found out off various clues gleaned from the scene of abduction of the old man of the Chinese dame, it leads to a meat packing plant, where all the members are unionized. Our hero thinks a Wobblie would be cool with unions, but the blonde dame explains that there are good unions and bad unions and that for example Ronald Reagan ran the Screen Actors Guild union thugs to chase off non-union actors and studio workers.
That makes no sense, story wise or politically wise given who is delivering the dialogue, but the important thing to take away from it is that Reagan has access to goons in California.
The hero and blonde dame visit the meat packing plant and find the guy who dropped his equipment at the scene of old man's abduction. They chase him down, tie him and interrogate him with threats of violence. He says the President of SAG - Reagan - ordered the kidnapping, as Reagan runs the meat packing union as well or is connected to it.
The interrogation and etc. takes time, so by the time the blonde dame and hero emerge from the scene, their car is being looked over by the other meat packers who are not too pleased to find interlopers out here. A fight breaks out and the hero and dame get the worse of it until they are rescued by a gent, who was introduced earlier, he is the lawyer for the Chinese dame and her family and tried to warn off the Chinese dame from hiring our hero. The gent kicks all sort of ass and saves our hero and dame and they all leave together.
As they drive, the hero learns the gent flew with the father of the Chinese dame during World War II with Merrill's Marauders in Burma and he also happens to know Nixon in a semi-official capacity. There is some fun world building here and decent dialogue, and the upshot is that our hero learns that Reagan is going to speak at the Repub convention, despite being a Democrat.
The hero gets to the Convention, but cannot get inside, as the cops have been told to keep him out. But he finds Reagan's driver in the parking lot, who happens to be an ex-army buddy of his and talks shop. We learn that Reagan held a meeting at a place called Watergate circle recently with some shady people.
Watergate Circle is north of LA, near Santa Barbara, and that's where the trio (hero, blonde dame and gent) are all set to go, but the hero drops off the blonde at her place and tells her he need someone breathing to tell the tale in case he does not come back.
They get to Watergate Circle, which holds shacks on the edge of a grove and find the missing man, tied up and beat up, who tells the secret documents are under the floorboards. The documents link the gent's boss Nixon with the missing man. The missing man got Nixon to get him permits to build at Watergate illegally and in return Nixon got some money. Back then it was fine, but now with the situation in China, the gent opines having a Vice President of the United States deal illegally with a Chinese businessman is not good for the VP, so the deeds and paper trail had to be found by the gent.
Enter mayor's aide, who has been monitoring the hero's progress and congratulates him for finding the paperwork needed to nail Nixon and get him off the ticket. And the gent gives a grin and explains he was partly in on it as well, because not all of those deeds are in the name of the missing man, some can be transferred to him in a roundabout way and asks our hero to gaze out into the grove and see the future. The missing man was content to build small things out there, but the gent wants factories and etc. Factories you could not build if you were a Chinese national due to concerns and etc., but a white guy like him can now get done. And all he had to do was turn on his boss Nixon and dump him as the VP.
The aide and gent come to a quick agreement as they are practical man, but deem our hero to be too much of a romantic and the aide orders him buried out in the grove. But our hero is saved at the last moment by the blonde dame and her Wobblies (Chekhov's piano gets dropped!) The Wobblies rescue our hero, but they like the notion of factories being built out here on Watergate circle and think they can offer good jobs, so they will keep mum on the whole thing if the gent keeps his side of the promise, leaving our hero with no proof and no witnesses.
And at the Convention, Nixon withdraws (off screen) and Reagan shows up and accepts the nomination (as a Democrat) to be the Vice-President to a Republican Ike as a unity ticket to help the nation in its time of peril.
As our hero lies on the couch and drinks whiskey, he reads about factories springing up on Watergate circle and the gent marrying the Chinese dame to get her fortune while giving her respectability. The Chinese dame sends a check to our hero for five large for finding her father's body so it can be buried according to his beliefs.
The mayor's aide stops by with an envelope at the hero's apartment and lays out what our hero missed. The missing man was an opium dealer. During the war, when he was flying in Burma with the gent, he got tangled in the Golden Triangle and quickly realized its potential. The missing man needed political protection in California to ship in the drugs and reached out to the gent to get Nixon to get him some clearance, and in return Nixon got paid in Chinese drug money (yeeeeee ouch, that's some rough stuff there).
But, they had a problem, Nixon and the missing man, the stupid War with China - it would interrupt good business they had going, so Nixon turned pacifist to protect the missing man's business. This ran than up against the Military Industrial Complex that wanted the war to build factories and what have you. Exit missing man. End Nixon's career.
The aide then explains that he represents a civilized organization. They will not kill our hero, because nobody would believe him if he went to the press and nobody in the press would publish it anyway, but just in case they wish to remove him from the board - the envelope he has in his hands. The hero has been re-mobilized to serve in the army in the upcoming war. He has two options, flee to Canada, which would make him an illegal and no one would care what he has to say then, or go on and fight, which would make him a possible dead man. And with that the aide departs.
And our hero shivers on the Chinese border in US army togs.
Not everything in this story works, but enough of it works to be good and it is a fun read. The art is good and you are never confused about what is happening on where and how. I know that seems like a strange compliment, but I read Jour J issues where the action is muddled and here, it is not.
The only small negative is that the cover and premise have so little to do with the story that it only confuses the thing.
17. "Napoleon Washington"
Front cover logline: 1799, the adopted son of the father of the American nation goes searching for El Dorado
Actual logline: matches the front cover logline
This was decent to good, just not what I expected. For a story about Napoleon ending up in United States and somehow becoming the adopted son of George Washington, I expected an epic tale of conquest, tyranny and insanity. And I got some of that, just not in the way I pictured it.
Before the spoiler tag covers up what I do not wish to spoil and I get into the story, I will say the tale is more intimate than what you'd expect with Napoleon in the logline. There are no epic battles. There is action, but the combined count of troops involved in each battle does not rise above 5,000 by my informal count. There are no Waterloos here.
To the story:
Action starts in Veracruz, New Spain in 1799, with Napoleon leading a volunteer army of desperadoes, rustlers, cut throats, Mexican bandits, rangers, bushwhackers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists. He is about to storm a heavily defended Spanish position and exposition among his men explains that they signed up to follow him to kick the Spaniards out of Louisiana, but Napoleon just kept marching and here they are in Mexico. The assault goes not entirely well, but the local Mexican rebels under a certain fellow named Morelos plow through, giving Napoleon time to execute his plan and the castle falls.
We get the sense, intentional on the part of the authors or not, that this Napoleon is a bold tactician and inspiring leader of men, but not quite up to par to his OTL reputation as a military genius.
Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, Napoleon's brothers share the good news of his brother and his rag tag army of Southern volunteers taking the fight to the Spanish Empire, but wiser and older heads around him suggest he is getting too far ahead of himself and that Napoleon's call for the "Liberation of the Oppressed in All of the Americas" will just lead everyone into trouble, as Napoleon is essentially waging a private war against Spain, Portugal and possibly England, to say nothing of France chomping at the bit to get Louisiana back (we are not as yet told what type of government rules France ITTL in 1799).
Exposition proper starts as Napoleon's brother gets ready to make a speech and other Senators gossip. Napoleon's biological father came to United States and joined the rebellion. He took a bullet while crossing the Delaware and George Washington adopted his oldest son Napoleon (but from what I see, not his brother). Young Napoleon immediately took to army life, progressing from drummer boy through the ranks, becoming a general at the age of 20.
ITTL, Benedict Arnold did not betray the US cause, and along with Napoleon took Quebec from the British. A reference here is made of that chasing out the British from the American continent for good, which leads me to believe that either someone thought Quebec = Canada (a notion certain Canadian PMs will heartily endorse, I'm sure), or something got lost in translation.
Napoleon then turned to Louisiana and with volunteers and aid of France took it from Spain. That part reads funny and I am guessing a translation error, but oh well. The gist is much the same.
Napoleon's brother meanwhile fulminates that the brave Mexican rebels are being left to the dogs in New Spain and how much of a disgrace it is, while the more wiser and older and cynical heads in the Senate point out that the Mexican rebels are getting crushed by Spanish troops and to go aid their cause would just get US dragged into the war even further.
Senator Bonaparte leaves Senate in a huff, but talks with his allies about how it is not going as planned. He too believes in the Napoleonic call to destiny, but reveals that George Washington did not. A flashback tells us of how young Napoleon went to get GW's blessing to attack Canada, but GW thought the whole thing dangerous and silly, because he sees that Nap will not stop at just Canada and indeed Nap freely confesses to taking the fight to the whole world, speaking boldly of taking North and South America. GW thinks he is seeing madness here and how Nap can undo all that the Revolution did. The conversation only goes downhill from there and Nap leaves and the two have not spoken since.
Back in Mexico, Nap's men want to be rescued by the Congressional ships, but some of his more wily lieutenants cotton on that Congress will come only for them, not the Mexican rebels, leaving the Mexicans to be slaughtered by the Spaniards, while others fret that Nap is not satisfied with Mexico and wishes only to conquer and not to sail back home to Philly.
The yellow fever and fetid environment take a chunk of Nap's men as all wait for the ships to come, but there is a degree of difficulty as the British are blockading.
While everyone sits around and waits, a Mexican woman with some obvious Aztec blood in her arrives and wants to meet Nap, she is told to bugger off, so she pulls a knife - a knife made out of solid gold. This gets her to see Nap and they stay locked up in bed for two days and two nights. Everyone makes jokes, until we learn that Nap was injured in the groin at the Battle of Saratoga and rumor has it, he lost his balls out there, or they were at least severely injured.
John Paul Jones arrives, on a single ship. He bears ill tidings from Congress: there will be no fleet to evacuate neither Napoleon, nor his army, nor the Mexican rebels. Congress does not wish to risk the fleet to the vagaries of fate and the British blockade. Thus Nap and his men and the Mexicans are on their own and Congress washes their hands of him and his cause and rebels.
Nap talks with his naked female native witchy woman (with the golden knife) and she promises him an army of Aztecs ready to kill the hated Spaniards. But Nap even while motor-boating his new ally tells her that it is not enough, he needs guns and gold to make it happen, so the woman tells him of how Aztecs fled into the jungle when the Spaniards first came and took with them gold. And she, being a (whoa, whoa) witchy woman knows where the gold is hidden. She knows where to find El Dorado.
During the night, an assassin comes for Nap, but his woman kills him and we learn why Nap's bio dad had to leave Corsica, a vendetta gone wrong that spans generations. That bit of exposition out of the way, Nap's henchmen ask how did the fellow arrive here in the first place. Nap thinks the Brits let him through, but Nap's lieutenant points out that the fellow came off the ship of John Paul Jones, perhaps Congress has decided to look the other way to get Nap killed?
But all of this is but a mere distraction to Nap, he is hunting for El Dorado and, as proof of his woman's veracity of the tale, he points out the bracelet she wears, which is neither Inca nor Aztec patterned (zuh?).
Nap puts Morelos in charge of guarding his rear and takes his men into the Mexican jungles.
That is ill advised, as Morelos betrays Nap and tells the Spaniards how to march behind him.
Nap makes a stand near a mountain pass and gets his men killed, all save a detachment of fifty, whom he leads into the deeper jungle where the Spaniards cannot as yet follow.
There in the jungle, the woman takes off her clothes in the small lake and cuts herself in a ritual that Nap joins as his men watch on.
Morelos and his new Spanish buddies sneak up and a firefight results.
The woman leads Nap's men through a waterfall into an Aztec temple and they lose Morelos and his men. Two days later she leads them via another exit in another waterfall to safety, but they are down to twenty men now and talk of how to leave all of this behind and get to the coast, but the woman has other idea, in two days time they will find El Dorado.
And soon they find some gold, though there is debate whether it is pyrite or true gold.
Nap meanwhile is a hollowed out shell of himself, but sees a temple and thinks it has gold, as the woman has told him of his. Two weeks of fruitless searching reveals there is no gold.
Dehydrated and gold crazed, Nap had a vision of Aztec deities and realizes he was led to his doom and kills his witchy woman. Nap orders his last three men to make it out of the jungle, abandoning himself to the temple and his visions. But he has one last request, whomever wins the election in US must be in on the plot to take out him and his army and so his men must avenge him.
And so Nap dies.
Meanwhile in Washington, Adams wants to move the capital there from Philly, but there is bad news South of the border. Morelos has went rogue yet again and is now on the move. He has taken Texas and marches on New Orleans, and no longer obeys Spain.
Adams processes this calmly, but then at his inauguration gets killed by Nap's surviving lieutenant.
The vendetta goes on?
The story gets muddled towards the end, as there was a point there to be made about vengeance, visions and politics, but I still enjoyed it. And the art was pleasant and nice.
Issue 16 "L'Étoile blanche" (the White star)
17 april 1912 the Titanic arrive with out problem in New York
The Story start good, intriguing, but at middle the Story telling and plot collapse into mess were reader left confused
the Main problem was they wasted too munch pages and were forced to complete the story in remaining pages, cutting into two volume could have save that mess.
There reissue of Jour J issue 6 and 8 about May 1968 in one volume.
next to that this pop up in Youtube
Remember my Joke about english issue of Jour J ? (see post 165 for that )
Now guess what ? Delcourt expanse into English language and Offers 2 Issue of WHAT IF?
Volume 1: Russian on Moon
Volume 2: Who killed the president ?
Delcourt's "Wunderwaffen presents: Zeppelin's War"
Not Jour J, but AH with a side of ASB from the same publisher.
I read this comic book, and it was... odd.
We start on Page 1, in St. Petersburg, Capital of the Russian Empire, Mid-November 1916. A steam boat paddles past a canal near the Winter Palace and balloons dot the sky. The Empress and Tsarevich Alexei (the one with hemophilia) are chilling with their tea, when hipster bearded man-bun wearing Rasputin bursts inside and says he needs to get to Spitsbergen. Said journey will require an airship to fly over Finland and to the Arctic Circle, from where he will go on to find... stuff. Mystical stuff that is necessary, and so the Empress agrees, because Rasputin is healing her son.
We cut to next page, where a helpful caption says December 2nd, 1916, 23,000 feet above North of German-occupied France. A fleet of 36 zeppelins sails through the sky. A keen eye shows that they have hooks under their gondolas, from which airplanes hanged (four per each zeppelin).
A balloon caption of speaker lets us know that he feels cold.
A second balloon of his conversation partner tells us that he feels that cold makes you strong and addresses the first speaker as "Hauptmann Goering."
Barring the armada of zeps dragging fighter planes, this is not truly remarkable as yet, as Goering was indeed a flier and it would make sense for him to be associated with either the zeps or the fighter planes, though his rank was not that of captain even at the end of the war in 1918, much less by close of 1916 (the Germans were stingy on promoting folks, and Goering ended the war as a first lieutenant, but then wrote a letter to the ministry, saying he would forsake his pension if they were to promote him, which they were only glad to do, to save money).
The savvier among you might be already guessing who our second speaker will turn out to be.
And sure enough, the jet black mustached man with intense eyes at the helm is addressed as "Hauptmann Hitler" by an incoming Prussian caricature of a Lt. Colonel with a spiked helmet (on a zeppelin?) with a Blue Max around his neck, a monocle, and a fur trimmed cloak.
Rasputin. Hitler. Goering. Zeppelins.
I am expecting Stalin to guest-star sooner rather than later here as well, but first let us survive the caricature, who barks orders at everyone and acts as an ass. He specifically gets under Cap'n Hitler's thin skin by second guessing his orders and warning everyone that they must be on their best in order for this terror raid on Paris to work.
Just then a French airplane appears. It has the similar frame of a Great War crate, but also has a full glass shield canopy around the pilot's seat, triple exhausts running parallel to the body of the plane and six vertical exhausts jutting out from an exposed engine block just behind the propeller. Because that shit looks cool and screw you, aerodynamics. Unfortunately for the recon plane, they have no radio and are quickly shot down by the lead zep's defenses.
The Prussian Stereotype reams out Goering for not having his fliers out there providing cover, to which Goering points out that it is cold and dark and his men don't breath ice and don't have night-vision eyes, which Hitler muses upon as maybe once again Germans will have it. This makes Goering want to face palm as apparently the whole ice-men with night-vision is a thing from a book that is popular and it sets the blood of the Stereotype boiling as the book is also controversial. ST and Hitler get into it over the book and Goering wanders off to talk to his pilots instead.
The pilots are relaxing in the mess room, wearing uniforms that appear to be stolen from an anime about the Great War rather than anything any pilot would wear even in a diesel-punk Great War era. After some banter establishes that Goering is popular with his fellows, they go down the hatch and into their planes that are hooked to the zeps. It is cold out there, and the men grouse.
Goering flies about, hoping to catch glimpse of legendary French aviator Guynemer so he can kill him.
And speak of the Devil, G rushes to his fighter as do French pilots at nearby camp as the alarm was sounded over the glimpse of the zep armada. G's crate is a sight to behold, it retains the lines of a Spad fighter, but now has exhausts on either side of the engine block and there appear to be missiles (?) between the two wings of his plane.
Meanwhile, Goering and his fighters fly around the zeps, bored stiff, until missiles (!) strike them and the zeps and the French begin their attack. Goering, flying a red triplane because, well, ya know, favors the action and leads the sortie. The French fighters are caught off guard by the size of the armada and by the sheer number of planes the Germans brought with them. There follows a confusing aerial battle that is hard to follow, but has a few strange and quirky moments that are hard to follow, to look cool.
A German zep gunner is propelled by a fireball out of his gunner's seat and falls down out into the sky. As he falls, his body hits the propeller of a passing French fighter and his leg is cut off from the rest of his body, and said leg then flies out and catches itself against the throat and the side of the neck of a French flier, breaking his neck and causing him to fall with his crate.
This sequence, however, means nothing, as the falling fighter harmlessly sails past Goering and G as they fly about and shoot down others, all the while Goering trying to spot G.
As this goes on, two zeps turn back from the fleet and fly back home, citing engine troubles and two more are destroyed, Hitler tends to think this attacking is not going well, but Stereotype wants to press on with all might.
G finally gets caught by Goering, but as Goering has him dead to rights after G has sliced through another German fighter, G runs out of ammo and Goering spots this and waves him off, sparing him, because this is not equal combat that Goering was savoring.
I really find it odd that a smattering of AH fiction seems to have a soft spot for the fat bastard during his fighter years. I guess this it to make up for all those years of fiction where young Goering had to show eeeeevil tendences, or something? It's just odd. As someone who has written AH about Goering myself (thumb up, cheap plug), I find nothing heroic about him, like, at all.
Anyway, back to the action, the zeps near Paris, and G flies back to his base, jumps out and demands ammo and fuel, as he has a fight to get back to.
By the way, one thing you can clearly tell, is that the artist learned how to draw planes from movies and aerial shows, which do not have ammo tracks, and so where the ammo is stored is an utter mystery to him, and you can tell he learned his aerial tactics from video games as there is a lot of upside down flying and various other biplane Kama Sutra moves in this comic.
G returns to the fray and we get a gorgeous splash page of Paris under attack, but fighting back with artillery and planes, as the zeps take heavy damage, including the lead one, where Cap'n Hitler tells the Stereotype that there are troubles and a fire on the zep and they should rethink the approach. ST tells him to go take care of it, which Hitler does, surrendering the helm of his airship to the ST, though much reluctantly.
If this ends with ST and Hitler killing each other, I will not be disappointed, like, at all.
Now comes a very odd sequence, the firemen are scared of the fire, because it is in a sensitive area, so brave Cap'n Hitler takes their stuff and goes to put out the flames himself, while spewing stuff about bravery securing victory for Germany. Now, I have quite a few problems with this vision of heroic Hitler. Yes, you do not have to show him as cowardly, and the creature did win an Iron Cross 1st Class (somehow, despite us having no record of him ever being awarded 2nd Class, but to be fair even Germans did not keep good track of Iron Crosses 2nd Class towards the last two years of the war, as regimental commanders were just handed them in boxes and told to award as necessary to motivate the men, which actually de-motivated them as the 2nd Class became devalued in their eyes). But, I still think it is not entirely responsible for folks to show cool and daring Goering and brave and heroic Hitler in a comic book with Zeppelins on the cover that kids might buy. I'm not a sensitive soul, but still.
The ST is pissing off everyone on the bridge of the lead zep and the crew are near mutiny level as G makes one more pass and thinks (via a word balloon) that he will finally be able to sink the Zep with one more round of shots. Goering is on his tail, but is running out of fuel and is on fumes and must break off the attack as his engine is starting to misbehave.
Hitler makes it back to the bridge and order ST to stand down, so he can fly the zep back. ST loses his shit and pulls out a broomhandle Mauser '96 (I know it is a stereotype, but one, we already have a giant Stereotype doing stereotypical things, and two, it is a cool looking gun and I like seeing it). Before ST can kill Hitler, G rakes the bridge and misses Hitler by inches, but stitches ST through. Dammit.
G's crate loses a wing due to his acrobatics and he ditches it and jumps out, with a parachute.
Hitler takes charge of the zeppelin (there's a sentence I never thought I'd type) and orders it back.
Goering flies back as his plane tries to nosedive (I have played enough Great War airplane video games with realism settings turned to tell you that that is no fun) and manages to catch his hook against the bottom rigging of Hitler's zeppelin right as his fighter runs out of fuel.
Goering finds dead Stereotype and Hitler at the helm, Hitler tells him the abridged version of what happened and pilots the airship back to the German occupied zone. However, they have a rather rough landing of it.
We're on pg. 27 of a 48 page comic by this point by the way.
Pg. 28 opens with an island in the Arctic Ocean, where Rasputin, on skis, finds the All-Spark or something. He asks for the airship from his three companions, who laugh at him and tell him that it left due to bad weather and that they will have to drive down in a diesel-punk tractor-jeep-snowmobile with Gieger type exhausts. Rasputin is mad by this turn of events and goes partly mad as a result as well. Until one of his companions pull a gun on him (Nagant revolver, naturally) to get him (Rasputin) to calm down. Rasputin does, or feigns it rather. As he murders the three men in the snowmobile.
As the murders occur, we are only shown the outside of the snowmobile, but from the screams and shouts we are left to incur that Rasputin is using other-worldly means to annihilate his companions.
He gets to an ice-breaker twelve miles down at the coast in three hours on skis, where the Russian crew greet him warily, note that he stinks pretty bad and that they do not buy his story about the car having an accident and the others simply perishing. But they let it go and sail off, as the the three missing men were not part of their crew and were therefore not their responsibility. They do, however, lament the loss of the car. All this reads like that scene in Blazing Saddles, where the white overseers are horrified at the prospect of equipment getting stuck in the quicksand, but care not a whit about the lives of the black laborers.
The next day, we learn the Zeppelins fly out towards France yet again. The lead Zep is commanded by Major Hitler, who is sporting an Iron Cross 1st Class around his neck. Now, this is dumb for a variety of reasons. One, as I said, Germans did not promote as freely as the Allies, so Cap'n Hitler would not have been promoted over a single act of... what exactly? He led the wounded Zep back behind the lines, from an attack that went bad? That's not how German Air Force worked in those days. Two, the Iron Class 1st Class is not worn around the neck. There are variations of the Iron Cross that can be worn around the neck, IIRC, but this is clearly an Iron Cross 1st Class.
But if you're looking for more fun, guess who is Hitler's second in command.
Give you a hint - Hess.
Now, IRL, Hess was a pilot, so this is not entirely unlikely, and in a comic book where infantry corporal Hitler became a Cap'n in the German Zeppelin Service, why not? Right?
G comes a-flying to destroy the Zep, but Goering is right there to intercept him, except now it is Goering's plane that suffers mechanical issues and has its rigging come free as he loops about. He then crashes into G's crate. G tries to pilot the wreck or at least control the descent, while Goering jumps out with a parachute and hopes to land on the right side of the trenches. G's descent does not go well and he crashes in a fiery wreck, but his body is pulled out. Two days later, he is bandaged and we see he has lost all four limbs and is hideously burned. The French general standing over his body authorizes an experimental treatment of G by a mysterious doctor who has recently been condemned to be guillotined.
On the next page, a train arrives into the Nicolas station in St. Petersburg from Arkhangelsk. That makes sense and shows some research was done, as indeed the Nicolas station would have been the only station at that time that could take train traffic from Arkhangelsk, despite being setup as a terminus for Moscow-St. Pete traffic. Man-bun hipster-beard Rasputin emerges, and others passenger mention how much he reeks. He gets to the Winter Palace, where he convinces the Empress that he has found a way to cure Alexei of hemophilia. Using the All-Spark he commences to make some magik, and then to prove that Alexei is cured, he cuts him with a knife in front of horrified Empress and indeed Alexei has been cured, permanently of hemophilia.
Not yet willing to name his price for helping the Empress, the reeking hipster goes to his apartment, where his landlady also mentions that he smells bad and mentions lots of women "in heat" have been coming to see him while he was away and she disapproves of such things, which Rasputin laughs off. She makes a reference to the Lord's plan for him, which he nods off, but then laughs off at this room, saying it more like Berlin's plan. Because apparently Rasputin is a spy for the Germans.
Now, this is almost clever, as in IRL, there were many a rumor that Rasputin was in fact as a spy for the Germans and was using his position to undermine the Russian throne and the whole of Russia. These rumors were spread by his enemies, but they had a tendency to stick. Certainly the misguided and overstretched Imperial secret police thought the rumors had merit and followed him, for a time.
Rasputin goes to have a bath, but before that, he unwraps the All-Spark and finally shows us that it is a black mirror with rune sigils carved around its perimeters. He asks to see the future of Russia, and is stunned to see Lenin in the vision. Other visions include: a Soviet airship bombing a Russian church, Soviet airship being struck by a crude Imperial Russian missile in the middle of a Civil War, and the entire Imperial family murdered in a cellar by Bolsheviks. This horrifies him, for a variety of reasons, as he deduces that if the family gets it, then so does will he.
Once again, this is clever, as Rasputin repeatedly warned the Empress IRL, as a form of insurance policy, that should he be killed, the House of Romanov will fall within a year. So here, Rasputin is working backwards, deducing that a fallen House of Romanov brings ill tidings for him as well.
Rasputin decides that he must now exfiltrate from Russia to Germany. He goes outside, and we see he is being shadowed by an agent, who works for Prince Usupov (who IRL led the assassination attempt on Rasputin). He goes into a church, where he tells an Orthodox priest that he healed Alexei. The priest thinks that means that Romanovs will now eat of his hands, but Rasputin is more worried about getting out of dodge and tells the priest (his contact) to get him out of Russia, stat.
And so, while the Kaiser and von Hindenburg are strolling along the Western Front, they talk of how to get Rasputin out of Russia.
Rasputin is a spy run by such top circles that both the Kaiser and von Hindenburg know of him personally and the decision to exfiltrate him is discussed by them? Don't they have a war to run?
The Kaiser is ambivalent about Rasputin and helping him, but Hindenburg thinks it is their duty to help him as he helped them and besides he is worried what Rasputin might do if they were to not help him. Besides, Hindenburg thinks it would hurt Russia were Rasputin to be proven to be a German prisoner, and he wants to bide their time and see which of the two would do more damage to Russia if released back into the land of the Tsars one more: Rasputin or Lenin.
The Kaiser tells Hindenburg to take care of it. He says that he knows just the man to get Rasputin out.
Hitler, Hess and Goering return from a bombing of London run and are told that Hitler is wanted.
and "To Be Continued" shows in the lower right hand corner.
This was... odd.
The comic starts goofy, very goofy, but then tries to make sense internally and settles into a groove. Still, the Young Sturdy Heroic Nazis of Hitler and Goering make for a very odd reading.
I get the impression that sometimes the 'Jour J' writers just want to provoke. There's really no good reason for using Hitler and Goering, they seem like very generic characters, but that wouldn't make poeple go 'WOW, that's so radical!"
Still, the fact that something liek an alternate history comic book, done so relatively well, with good art can exist makes me think we're living in the best of all possible timelines.
"Wunderwaffen" was original not at Delcourt, but a Series from competitor "Soleil" who wants to capitalize from Jour J success in France
and to be honest "Wunderwaffen" is only show case for "Luft 46" with ABS scenarios to make it happen.
it was successful, that came spinoff like "Wunderwaffen presents: Zeppelin's War" and "Wunderwaffen presents: Space Reich"
but thanks twisted Fate, Delcourt got his biggest rival Soleil for Bargin price,
in same time Delcourt do AH spinoff also like "USA über Alles" (1950s cold War) and "Luftballons" (1980s cold war)
good news Jour J "Le Died Vert" is announced for august 2018 ISBN : 978-2-7560-8511-1
second part of "La Ballade des pendus" play in Africa and feature Jeanne and Innana adventure in Desert
Okay, that's it, I'm learning French.
I think they're going for the idea of "Heroes of WWI became Villains in WWII". An idea that could be understandable for the French given we had Petain to fit that picture...
Still pretty hard to imagine Hitler, Goering or any other Nazi has having been a decent person once.
I read the second Volume "Mission Rasputin" and i went direct into ABS Hell
Remember Volume 1, Hitler, Goering are in "Luftwaffe", Rasputin has Supernatural powers and Magical artifact and try to escape mother Russia before Lenin takes over.
Volume 2 begins with Hitler and Goering called to Superior for a Secret mission, but in order to that let do visit to local Mad scientist "Dr Dexter" typical with protective glasses, Weird haircut and lab coat.
Dexter experiment on humans to adapt them to extremes of High altitude with out Protective gear or Oxygen mask.
Hitler is enraged as the see the experimental subject is Asian men, he demands those experiments are made with ARYANS (face palm one)
Cut to Local French Mad scientist dr Cornellius and his subject the poor french pilot captain Guynemer who survived his fighter crash, let we say "in most in one part and crispy"
dr Cornellius more classic dr Frankenstein from Novel, want to create french Super soldiers with special Serum in special chamber (were i hear that before ?)
Cut to Rasputin subplot (and i mean sub standard of the Plot) who try to get Ticket out of Russia, with some unpleasant encounter with OTL guys who killed him in 1917.
but guess what, Rasputin has Supernatural powers, survive the Bullets and kills his would-be assassins, who end up in ice cold river instead of Rasputin, ohhh the cold irony !
Cut to "Dr Dexter" hey that guy store living Brains in jars !
Hitler show up with ARYANS men for the "Transformation", one of them is called "Hess", sadly he nor Hitler are the two victims of the "Transformation"
Dr Dexter makes fun about Hitler "Aryans beliefs" to Superior, then goes Testing the results in High altitude at 12000 meter.
Hitler and Co are little bit purple in face, no actually they all are purple after the "Transformation" after some casualty during testing Hitler is proud quoted Nietzsche "What not kill make you stronger" (face palm two).
next he and purple crew get new SUPER ZEPPELIN and i have no idea how this monster can fly, presumable with help of Hitler ego...
to his surprise the Secret mission goes to Baltic region, his Superior report to Hindenburg who consider the Mission more important as Herr Hitler survival and order to get rid of Hitler after his return...
in mean time SUPER ZEPPELIN prototype has some mechanical electrical and structural problem Hitler response "SABOTAGE" !
also in same time, Rasputin with Supernatural powers has urge to get into certain place in Baltic region
Then Goering moment comes as he drop from 7000 meter with Double decker down to this certain place in Baltic region.
While SUPER ZEPPELIN and his purple crew encounter a Russian Zeppelin in air to air combat
Rasputin with Supernatural powers, defeat the secret police, who follow him since Moscow and signals Goering Aircraft
and that is the Secret Mission collection of evil Rasputin for German Empire
At 5000 meter altitude Goering dock to SUPER ZEPPELIN and Rasputin move with out problem to Hitler
once on Board Rasputin with Supernatural powers "convinced" Hitler for a new destination: the island of Spitzbergen
Cut back to Local French Mad scientist dr Cornellius, who is quite dead after his experience with captain Guynemer
who stands like a young god in front of General Deray
while dr Cornellius taking his secret of Super soldier into his grave... (were i hear that before ?)
Prediction for "Zeppelin's War: Volume 3 - the ABS Apocalypse"
will Rasputin summon the Ogdru Jahad once he is in Spitzbergen ?
will Capitan America France stop him ?
will Hitler become new Purple Red Skull ?
Makes "Wunderwaffen presents: Zeppelin's War:" any sense ?
So... they actually made it worse. Wow.
I started reading "La Ballade des Pendus" because I'm a sucker for anything with Joan of Arc in it. It's slow going with my poor French, as I have to constantly look words up, figure out sentence structure etc. I found that reading it on a tablet significantly speeds up the translation process, as I can look words up on the net while reading. So a major bonus there.
As far as I can tell, the POD is a much deadlier plague, which leads to a weaker and more fragmented France. Central authorithy is being reestablished by a new king though, but not everyone's completely happy about this. For reasons that are not all that clear to me, Mali has become a significant ally for one of the French crown, apparently lending financial aid to the new king as a major economic powerhouse after the apparent decline of the western trading powers. So the story begins with the Malian ambassador arriving in the south, meeting up with a French official. They do some exposition talk, including some stuff about how people lost faith after the plague. Christianity is apparently on the decline in favor of 'Green God'* though it is quite obscure to me how this new God is different form the old one. Maybe I will find out at the end of the album.
*The name 'Green God' reminds me of 'Green Christ' form Mary Gentle's 'Ash - a secret history'. Maybe the authors have been looking to that for inspiration?
Very honestly, Wunderfaffen and WW2.2's albums are rarely correct, even more rarely good, and generally speaking outright bad to "what the fuck am I reading". Barely coherent, not only respective to history, but to allohistory as well (heck WW2.2. characters are barely coherent with themselves from an album to another). It's bad, and they should feel bad.
I mean, Hauteville House tries to set up a good background (and I surprise myself, rereading it, kinda appreciating it) : it's not that hard. Jour J itself, while following a hit and miss pattern more than I'd like, does manages to pull it off too.
Eventually, to have a better idea about it I'd really advise people willing to read some french AH to read some novels rather than...this.
Speaking of which, why Johan Heliot or Ugo Bellagamba aren't yet adapted in BD? I mean okay, La Lune Seule le Sait is an ASB festival with vernian/bio-punk France led by cyborg Napoleon III allied with a hive-mind race of aliens (French AH doesn't really care about plausibility and historicity as we do on the board, not in the latest, but that's okay) but it's epic.Ugo Bellagamba very short novel about Napoleon becoming emperor-pharaoh of Earth and set in the future (in a 2001 : an Odyssey of Spance-sort, except with Republican terrorism) of this PoD is really, really good as well.
Yes your right on that, French Sci-Fi explore more fantastical aspect of the Story as of Hard Science (mostly) of German or English Sci-fi
Or i like to say "French Sci-fi is like a living room were you sit in it and enjoy the Story"
From that Standpoint you have to look on Jour J or Wunderwaffen presents: Zeppelin's War, it more about look and Feel to it
special Zeppelin's War it's reminiscence of French pulp fiction of 19 century...
There's exception, altough they don't really arise from a prime motivation of realism : Tancrède by Ugo Bellagamba is a really fantastic, intimist and individual-focused AH novel.
It seems that the inclusion of fantastical elements does comes from a tendency in french Sci-fi (in spite of its Vernian roots) to not put a stress between plausibility and fantasy; but not putting a stress doesn't mean that the distinction doesn't exist, but it seems to have disappeared a bit from novels.
And as for the general production rom the 70's/80's (for those interested, kinda the beginning of the end of the "dark ages" of French SciFi), most of the few AH novels that were published are largely unknown, which is a shame giving that they often (IMO) had a stress on social and cultural changes like "Chroniques Sarrasines".
With the renewal of French SciFi, it seems that this kind of tought experiments became less and less present in novels : it did survived, but more as a specific niche.
For exemple in 1940, La France Continue (a really pontillous experiment, with some justified criticism to consider, and with a lot of other critics that more or less amount to french-bashing), more and more allohistorical asides in specialized magazines (such as the excellent Guerres et Histoire) or even regular historical works.
There's a third niche of french AH, which is "intellectual AH", which is to say a mix of philosophical/ideological/sometimes satire. It's represented with the first french AH works (which are, incidentally, the first AH of modern world) : Napoléon et la conquête du monde (which only morons that didn't read it can say it's a piece of nationalist wishful thinking) and Uchronie de Renouvier (which is both a reflexion about the nature of History and Time, and a call for tolerance and civilisation). It's not that represented today, except with the recent, and horrendous, Giscard's book on Napoléon.
French comics about AH tend to be at the crossroads between these : not afraid to indulge in implausibility, a lot of research and historical reference, some moral which is either fine (the Omega trilogy) or so on the nose that it's insufferable (White Star, Colombus Pacha)
There is also Luxley in term of French AH where the Inca/Aztec invade Europe with "planes" and others things. The hero is Robin Hood (who has superpower just like the most powerful Inca/Aztec) leading a guerrilla war against them with help from the king of France and Richard Lionheart. And the pope is with Saladin who's army help retake Europe from the Inca/Aztec . I don't remember the ending to be honest but the last i read had Robin Hood being captured and send to south america
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