Sangre v1 album cover detail by Adrien Flochs

A Fantasy Revenge Tale: Sangre v1: “Sangre the Survivor”

Grindhouse BD?

I’m only getting softer with age.  I don’t like seeing people get beat up, hurt, and bullied. “Sangre” proved that to me.

Kids can be cruel to Sangre in her own book

That’s exactly what happens to poor Sangre in this story.  This book is entirely set up to be a vengeance tale.  After Sangre’s entire family is murdered by pirates in the opening of the book, she’s sent off to a private school where all the other girls gang up on her and get her kicked out, where she’s sent to live with another family who’s so awful that she runs away and lives on the streets for the next ten years.

Sanger suffers through one bad hit after another.  She’s literally miserable for the first two thirds of this album.  It’s a really downbeat “Harry Potter” thing.

But then she grows up and turns into Batman…

 

The Tide Turns…

Sangre fights some random bad dudes

The thing that saves the book for me is that Christophe (“Asterix”) Arleston’s script makes it pretty clear that the point of this series is for Sangre to go around and kill or make miserable the seven pirates responsible for her family’s murder.  I’m guessing the whole story might be 7 or 8 books, then…

It’s a pure 100% vengeance tale, and the bloodier and more painful those deaths are, the better it’s going to feel for the reader. It gets pretty creative in this book.

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I fell right into that trap.  I was gloriously happy when she found the first pirate in this book.  So, it sounds like the genre works.

That’s the story structure.  I don’t blame you at all if it turns you off and you don’t want to deal with it.  It’s more brutal than my typical fare, that’s for sure, though I’ve read stronger stuff in manga and other comics.  (“Invincible” is far bloodier, for example.)

 

It’s Very Good Looking Fantasy

Pirates ride dragon bird creatures in Sangre

The art of Adrien Flochs is what catches my attention.

I loved it on “Ythaq” and it’s much the same here.  His storytelling, style, and sense of design are all identical.  You’ll get lots of panels per page, lots of small characters drawn in thin lines, and plenty of backgrounds to give everything a sense of place.  It’s so jam-packed you’ll be ticked off that you’re not reading this in the large album sizes their publish in French.  Even then, I think you’d read the book with your face pressed up to the book to see all the details.

An island in Sangre

Floch is not just a great character artist capable of drawing beautiful women, gnarly beasts, sinister old men, and dogs, but his environments and architecture are unrelenting and beautiful.  I have to think Arleston writes with it in mind, moving his stories to as many picturesque places as possible.  It gives Floch a chances to shine whenever he needed to draw a serene forest punctuated with a waterfall, or a large castle on a wedding day, or an abandoned shipyard.  Floch leaves no detail out, and shows the scenes from interesting angles.

There’s a lot more to this book than I’ve mentioned in my summary of it so far.  There are blimps and dragons and magical powers and lots of cool stuff.  Flochs draws it all well.

 

Adding the Colors

The colors from Claude Guth keep things easy to read.  Even the night scenes are brighter than your average “serious” superhero comic these days.

If you look at the pages from afar, there’s a dominant skin tone color scheme at play here.  That soft pink/orange comes through in most of the pages, which makes the transitions to the beach scenes near the end feel more serious, as the dominant blue sky plays a role.  The nighttime scenes and some with the students in her short-lived tenure at school go to the softer blues.  And there are times where deeper oranges dominate, but it’s never a terribly strong or overbearing scheme to any given page.

Time for a wedding…

There’s no sudden shift to neon colors or desaturated hues. Guth holds the line.  It works for the art. There’s a lot of detail here, and none of it will be hidden, much like the color schemes in the “Ekho” books do with that ridiculously detailed art.

Finally, the lettering by Studio Calix uses the font that makes everything look like it was hand-written by a classic European cartoonist. It’s slightly wild and highly opinionated, and I like it just for that.

 

Recommended?

If you have a strong enough stomach for it, yes.  It’s also another case where the first volume in the series is the origin story, though this one gets to the first adventure in the same volume, as well, which is appreciated. I look forward to the other worlds we get to see in this series, because Flochs is such an amazing artist to watch work.

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #39.)

 

The “Sangre” Web Teaser

The French do a lot of these teasers for their books. This one is pretty cool, and very very short:

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  • JC Lebourdais June 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Yeah that’s European BD in a nutshell for you, a mundane unoriginal story supported by (sometimes very) pretty drawings, pretending to be adult because it has offensive language/graphic violence and/or abundant boobage in it. And lotsa lotsa brown. Did I forget anything? Ah yes, it drags on for an ungodly number of volumes ;-D

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