COMIC BOOK REVIEW: THE CHIMERA BRIGADE VOLUME 1 / AUTHOR: FABRICE COLIN, SERGE LEHMAN / ARTIST: FABRICE GESS, CELINE BESSONNEAU / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Tensions in Europe are high as the world teeters on the brink of war. As airships fly over mysterious cities, Russian soldiers wear massive suits of armour known as mechaniods, and the officers of the Third Reich are literal Totenkopfs. Added into this boiling pot are some real-life characters, along with original superheroes and some twists on more familiar fictional faces.
This is the 1938 of The Chimera Brigade, a story that wears its inspirations on its sleeve yet, thanks to the talent involved, never feels like another version of something that has gone before. What could have been a simple mix of steampunk and superheroes is imbued with enough intrigue, mystery and philosophy to raise its head from the crowd.
The writing is such that, despite the plethora of ideas on show, the tale is never bogged down by concepts. The plot never feels too intricate, despite its many layers, never stalling to dump information, choosing instead to drip-feed the reader; it is story and character that are important here, forming a work that treats its readers with the same intelligence that’s on show from its creators.
Sublime artwork dominates every page, whether it be small panel or full-page spread, creating an atmosphere that partners the writing perfectly. The eye is drawn to each image, made to give it the attention it deserves, helping the reader become submerged in this strange world. Characters are brought vividly to life, populating landscapes and rooms that are packed with detail that is both familiar and new, making this alternate history feel incredibly plausible.
The Chimera Brigade is a work that will hook its reader from the first page to the last. It’s a story that is intelligent and beguiling, creating a web of gripping intrigue and exciting adventure that resonates in the mind of the reader. Immensely satisfying, it is still able to leave a few questions unanswered, which means the next episode can’t arrive soon enough.
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