Maggy Garrisson v3 cover detail by Stephane Oiry

Maggy Garrisson, v3: “Shame It Had to End This Way”

Writer: Lewis Trondheim
Artist: Stephane Oiry
Colorist: Stephane Oiry (with Melanie)
Lettering: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Emma Wilson
Published by: Dupuis/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 50
Original Publication: 2015


I opened this book, thinking, “Please don’t turn Alex evil.  Don’t let him be the one playing a long con against poor Maggy.”  Thankfully, Lewis Trondheim is going in a different direction.


The End Is Here

And so it ends, just as thoughtfully, clearly, and inventively as the first two volumes.  The on-going saga of the stolen 30,000 quid continues, new mysteries await the wannabe detective, and new personal issues threaten to up-end Maggie’s life again.

Everything comes to a head in this book. With this volume, there’s a complete tale. It’s done.  You may, though, want to see what comes next.  Trondheim hints at a couple of possibilities, but still completes this story first.

Let’s start by talking about what happened in this book, without spoilers.

Alex gives Maggie a gun for self defense

The story opens with Alex getting a gun for Maggy for her own protection.  Immediately, all the rules of Chekhov come to mind, of course. It’s just a matter of how and when.

The pressure from the 30,000 quid comes down hard on Alex and Maggy in this book.  Sleeping dogs will not just lay there and be quiet, and the results will be painful and wreak of desperation.  It will also give Maggie another chance to show us how inventive she can be.

Actually that’s the theme of most of this issue. Maggie’s quickness and inventiveness are on display in several scenarios.  Watching her come up with an idea is like waiting for that moment in the 80s version of “MacGyver” when he’d whip the Swiss Army knife out and start cutting up rubber hoses and bending paper clips to blow something up. Maggy takes impossible tasks that a grizzled old vet of detective work would never try, and finds new ways to the answers.


One Last Look at Oiry’s Art

The twelve panel page should be overwhelming. It should suffocate the reader into not wanting to muddle their way through a page that’s so busy it distracts your eyes constantly.

But Oiry is good and he knows what he’s doing.

He’s staging a lot of this comic somewhat like a play.  Once he establishes a location, he’ll settle down for the conversation.  The reader is never closeup to the action or any of the characters.  There are no extreme close-ups. 97% of the panels are middle distance.  Most of the rest are the establishing or wider shots that are further away.  1% are slightly closer up just to highlight a particular prop that’s about to come into play in the story, such as a seatbelt latch or a kitchen knife.  (Ooh, are you intrigued now?)

That middle distances gives you two things. First, there’s a bit of a distance from the characters.  You get a slightly less extreme reaction to their every move when it happens are arm’s length. Second, you see more.  You can follow the action more easily because more of it is on every panel.  You’re not going to jump when a scene shifts perspective and people fly into the panel that you never knew were there.

You feel like an observer from a slight distance. It lets your mind work harder to figure out what’s going to happen next. There’s a lot to see and a lot to follow. And you know you’re seeing enough to read into everything that happens.


Locking Things Down

Oiry also locks down his camera at times.  Sometimes, it’s only for two or three panels, but there are also times he can go the whole page. He lets the scene play out in front of the reader. You, as the reader, don’t waste energy trying to follow the action and the locations of the participants.  The actors do all the work.  And they rarely rest.  There’s one page where Alex, Maggy, and Alex’s mother are having a conversation in the living room. They spend the entire page sitting there, talking.  The camera never moves.

Alex drinks a tea

Alex sips away at his tea, crossing and uncrossing and recrossing his legs in the other direction. Every panel has a slightly different pose, as he raises the tea to his mouth and then back to its saucer on his lap.  Oiry never just stats one of the panels and calls it a day.  He stats everything around the movement and then is sure to show Alex acting naturally: fidgeting, adjusting, shuffling around.

Perhaps most impressively, he does this without creating boring pages. There’s still a freshness to each page. Locations feel natural, complete with small details like window treatments and lamps and pictures hanging on the walls.  The lighting casts simple shadows across the items purposefully and consistently.

I’m so impressed with everyting Oiry shows us he can do in this series.  In addition to everything above, he can move the camera around when it needs to be to tell the story. He draws characters who are interesting and unique. I never had a problem telling two characters apart.

They act naturally. They might be slightly stiff, but that feeling might originate from reading too many comics in the past where every characters needs to zip from extreme pose to extreme pose.  Oiry draws characters looking natural.  There’s no sudden moment where they turn into caricatures of themselves for the sake of overselling the script to the reader.  He’s consistent, and it is a joy to take in.


Maggy Garrisson v3 cover by Stephane Oiry

This review is a bit shorter than usual because it’s tough to talk too much about the book without spoilers.  This is the end of the story, and I want to keep all the surprises fresh for you.

I do think, though, that it’s a very solid conclusion to the series.  It doesn’t try too hard and it doesn’t pull any tricks on you.  It delivers on all the promises of the series and its characters that we saw in the first two books. Nobody suddenly turned into a superhero, nor did anyone suddenly remember a key thing to save everyone without any set-up. Trondheim’s script is well thought out.  Oiry executes on it amazingly.

Yes. Trondheim and Oiry land this plane well. It is a satisfying conclusion to a series that found its feet very quickly and stuck with it, without getting formulaic or repetitive. I could read a comic with Maggy just being a detective, solving smaller cases that seem impossible.

It’s like appreciating a close-up magician. You appreciate the skill and the thought that goes into the trick, and not the enormity of the scale, like making an elephant disappear.

— 2018.019 —


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  • Bram Meehan February 15, 2018 at 12:41 am

    This series is totally on my radar now, thanks for bringing attention though these reviews.

    • Augie February 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm

      Awesome, hope you like them, too. I think they’re great books and are easily accessible to American audiences today, too.


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