v12 The Wrath of Hypsis cover image header

Bring It All Together: Valerian and Laureline v12, “The Wrath of Hypsis”

If you read volume one in the series, you have my sympathies. It was not an easy read to slog through.

It was, however, important to the overall mythology of this particular universe.  Mostly, it posits a world in which the earth is basically destroyed by nuclear weapons exploding in 1986, melting the Polar Ice Cap, and flooding the world.

When that story was done in 1967, it was a far off future. Somewhere in the early to mid-1980s, Pierre Christin realized that his future and Valerian’s past were about to meet up.  How could Valerian continue to return to earth at the same time the book is being published when that world would be destroyed after the time the twelfth book would come out?

(Writing about time travel stories is very hard on the mind and fingers trying to type all these verb tenses properly.)

What he came up with is a real treat.  It breaks every rule I had up to this point for what makes this series so great, but it still works.

 

A Celebration of Valerian

The reason this two-parter works so well for me is that it feels like a celebration of the series.

v12 Valerian and Laureline and everyone is sitting down for breakfast

The return of Mr. Albert and the Shingouz are a part of a recognition that there are other fun characters in the universe that readers might like to see.  And getting them all on earth and then sitting around a table and just talking is a breath of fresh air.

Rather than watching the two humans looking gobsmacked on a fantastic alien planet, we get the aliens coming to earth and everything seems normal.  The aliens need to be hidden slightly, but otherwise all is well.  Their activities are all out at sea or in a secluded mansion in the Scottish Highlands.  They’re away from civilization.

There’s also a great sense of humor.  Valerian gets lost in the fog  trying to find his way to the mansion and has to land his space ship and walk into the local bar for directions. The darts players barely take notice of him. Jean-Claude Mezieres gets to draw this amazing panel.

Valerian is lost in the fog, so he lands his ship.

I love the way he uses broken up thin lines to approximate the fog.

The Shingouz make for perfect comic relief, from everything they want to drink (and enjoy) to the side deals they cut with unsuspecting boat crew members.

The Shingouz have a drinking problem -- they'll drink everything.

Every character in this book is a good guy, up until the end when you meet the “bad guys” who are really just antagonists and trying their best to do what they feel is right.

Laureline loves the Shingouz

You root for them all, even the Shingouz, whose love/hate relationship with Laureline is so much fun. They could do a whole spin-off book of “Laureline and the Shingouz” and I’d pay for it. Monthly.

 

Break in the Plot

The bulk of the middle section of the book is a chase set at sea, as the whole group is following a series of suspicious boats. One of them has their quarry, is out to destroy the world, and might be controlled by an alien presence.

There’s a page or two of explanation for this that stops the book dead in its tracks for a moment, but things pick up quickly after that.  Plus, we get to see some nice ship renderings from (I presume) Mezieres.

Hypsis

“Welcome to Hypsis, Valerian and Laureline. Hope you survive the experience!”

The Grand Finale

The whole thing ends in a chase to the planet Hypsis, where all is revealed and a major series change happens.  Some people aren’t happen with Galaxy and the things I mentioned in the last review that they might not be doing right.  A price must be paid.

Valerian isn't so sure about the stars in the sky.

And I can’t say anymore, because I like to keep these reviews spoiler free.  Ack!

Let’s just say that meeting the villains of this piece is a little weird, but their behavior and negotiating skills are perfectly logical. It’s like one of those “Star Trek” episodes where Kirk has to talk the computer into killing itself.  Valerian and Laureline don’t go quite that far, but some logic and time travel theory is deployed to save the day, as much as it could be.

Recommended?

Yes, yes, absolutely yes, but only if you’ve read everything up to this, so you can appreciate it more.  This is not the best first book to give a new Valerian fan, but it is a great one for a committed fan.

v12 The Wrath of Hypsis cover image

Buy on Amazon (Kindle or paperback)

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #53.)

 

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