Alter Ego v2: “Fouad”

Created By: Pierre-Paul Renders
Written By: Denis Lapiere and Pierre-Paul Renders
Artist (Characters): Matthieu Reynes
Artist (Backgrounds): Benjamin Beneteau
Colorist: Albertine Ralenti (with Sebastien Hombel)
Lettering: Calix Ltd
Translator: Christi Clemons Hoffman
Published by: Dupuis/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 68
Original Publication: 2011


It All Ties Together

As I mentioned in my review of the first volume in this series, all the books cross over and tell different characters’ stories in intersecting ways.

Alter Ego Fouad poisons a reporter for his ID

Early in the book, we find out how Fouad went about getting access to Miranda Grayson.

In this case, we follow Fouad, who we last saw at the end of volume 1 (“Camille”) taking a hostage in Miranda Grayson, head of the effort to eradicate AIDS through a vaccination that leaves behind a stylish tattoo (and perhaps more), and then making demands of Kaiji Urasawa, Director of U-Tech.

This whole album is an explanation for why he’s doing this, and the dominoes that it sets into motion.  Fouad’s path to this place is long and painful.  He starts off as a volunteer nurse from Belgium working for the WWOA in Columbia, the organization that’s providing the vaccinations to eradicate AIDS from the world.  In doing his work, he discovers that something more is going on, and begins to investigate.  He was so sure he was doing the right thing by going down there and working with people that he’s super not happy that there might be some nefarious motivations and moves going on behind the whole movement.  Hell hath no fury like a Believer scorned…

He won’t take it sitting down, and starts his own investigation as to what might be going on.

This search for answers leads him to Bermuda, of all places.


The Bermuda Connection

OK, this is personal and only half has to do with the comic, but please stick with me:

AlterEgo v2 hotel in Bermuda

I went to Bermuda this year for a vacation.  And I can tell you that the artists of this book (Reynes and Beneteau) definitely did their research.  The shape of the island is right.  The hotel Fouad is staying in is photo referenced straight from the one I stayed in.  I had a different room style, but the hotel lobby in this book is definitely referenced from the lobby at the same hotel.

Alter Ego v2 hotel lobby in Bermuda

I was giggling on the first two pages of the Bermuda section for that reason.  Later panels show the bridge that heads to the airport, the airport, itself, the city of Hamilton, etc.  It all looks right.

Bermuda is, ultimately, a collection of a lot of small islands.  That includes lots of little islands in the bay that are privately owned, often with a house on them.  This book uses that. Renders and Lapiere clearly are writing off vacation travel as business trips with this book. 😉

Seriously, though, when writing a story with a new location, it’s good to use that location’s natural traits in your story. Renders and Lapiere use Bermuda to choreograph certain actions the characters take.   They didn’t cover the limestone roofs, but the small islands and the secluded mansions and even, to a lesser degree, the motor scooter that are everywhere all lend a verisimilitude to this specific location. It’s not just another random Caribbean island.

Fun local fact from Bermuda:  W.W. Denslow, who originally illustrated the “Wizard of Oz” titles, bought an island in Bermuda with the money he made from the series. He declared himself the king of that island.  Of course.  Your move, Skottie Young!


Lettering That Matches

Lettering sample from Alter Ego v2

I didn’t mention the lettering in the first book.  Calix Ltd letters this series, much like they do for a lot of the titles EuropeComics translates.

The font is a nice match for Reynes’ style. It has that hand lettered, loose look to it.  I like it a lot. It’s not cold and calculating.

The parts of letters often crossover instead of meeting other parts, like with the crossbar in the middle of the “H”.  Some, like the middle line on the “E” don’t ever meet up to the vertical line.

It beats the cold, sterile look of so many default comic dialogue fonts.


Alter Ego v2 cover by Matthieu Reynes

After the first book in this series, you have to decide if you’re committed to the series or not.  If so, prepare for four more books after this one. I’m in. So of course I’d recommend this book.  It’s a complete story and a compelling one, raising new questions while filling in gaps from the first book.  I can’t wait to read volume 3 now to see where the piece fits into the overall puzzle.

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #101.)


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