Valerian and Laureline v22: Memories of the Future cover detail by Mezieres

Valerian and Laureline v22: “Memories of the Future”

Writer: Pierre Christin
Artist: Jean Claude Mezieres
Colorist: E. Tranle
Lettering: Design Amorandi
Translator: Jerome Saincantin
Published by: Dargaud/Cinebook
Number of Pages: 57
Original Publication: 2017

Once more, into the breach!

The French Market Isn’t All That Different from the American One

In North America, when a movie based on a comic book is about to be released, the publisher scrambles to have something available for the throngs of movie-goers who might be so interested by the movie that they’ll go to a bookstore to buy the book it’s based on.

Rarely does this work, and usually it’s for the movies that you can trace back to a very specific book.  The “Watchmen” collection sold like gangbusters when that movie came out.  When the original “Spider-Man” movie hit the big screens, Marvel had a whole bunch of titles available, but it’s not like any one of them was the sole influence on the movie.  Things just fizzled out.

With the Luc Besson-directed “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” destined for theaters, Pierre Christin and Jean Claude Mezieres came out of Valerian retirement to make one more Valerian book.  “Memories from the Futures” debuted earlier this year, giving forty years of French fans one more chance to see new material from the series’ creators. It’s the right direction to go.  Those first 21 books are eternally in print, so the best odds of making money in comics off the movie is to get the extremely large fanbase for the comics one more chance to go back to the well.

If the movie inspires new fans to go buy comics, there are already one or two really good ones to refer new readers to.

 

One for the Fans

 

Pierre Christin and Jean Claude Mezieres introduce Memories from the Futures, along with the Shingouz

“Memories from the Futures” is a book that appeals to the hard core fans, for sure.

I referred to the series finale in volume 21 as a victory lap.  If that’s true, then this book is the party after the race where the racer sits around and tells tales of his adventures that the viewers didn’t see on the tv coverage of the race.

I might be stretching my metaphor here too far.

“Memories from the Futures” is a clips show featuring clips you haven’t seen yet.  It’s a series of scenes set during specific earlier volumes of the series, often between pages or panels.  Christin finds little holes to tell little stories and squeezes them in.  Often, he fleshes out a character or a place or a custom that he didn’t explain thoroughly in the book the first time.

These are short short stories that half the time don’t even have a story.  They’re cut scenes from the book that explain something that might not be 100% relevant to that plot at hand, but is an interesting curiosity for fans who’d like to learn more about these worlds.

You need to have the books fresh in your mind to “get” all of them.  It’s been ten months since I’ve read the earliest Valerian books, so I had to wrack my brain on a couple of occasions to fit all the pieces together.  If you have that in your mind, you’ll be fine.

It’s a fun book. It’s not at all necessary, but it gives us all another chance to look back at favorite stories and see them anew again.  Christin is the big idea guy and Mezieres designs some more great panels and settings. It works for what it is.

 

But, First, A Quick Shingouz Break

One of the Shingouz really likes Laureline

 

Thanks.  Moving on…

 

Two Story Highlights

Looking back at The Heroes of Equinox in Mezieres painted style

The biggest story of them all is the sequel to “Heroes of the Equinox,” where they return for a new round of battles to determine the next savior of the planet. Given the results of that story, it’s understandable that Laureline has mixed reactions to being there, but she’s smart enough to know how to win the day again here.  While the rest of the shorts in this book are heavy in narration and don’t tell complete stories (at best, only scenes), this one does, and in only five pages.

A close second is a story set at Point Central, as Valerian and Laureline take a tour of the station. The pilot of the ship crashes and Laureline winds up in the middle of an arena filled with warriors looking for a fight. Valerian hops to the rescue, but Laureline takes care of things, though there might be bigger problems around the bend….

These are both super short, fun stories that put our leads in some kind of action-packed scenario, along with more introductions to new aliens and environments.

They also focus on Laureline…

 

This Is Laureline’s Book

In the time since the albums first came to be, Laureline has become something of a feminist icon in the world of science fiction comics.  Christin latches onto that in a big way with this book, putting Laureline front and center in most of the stories in this volume, even adding onto her origin to make her an even bigger feminist icon.

Now, in her origin, she leaves earth with Valerian specifically as a rejection of the stereotypical princess dream in favor of an adventurer’s quest.

Adventure awaits Laureline over any dreams of being a princess

In one moment from another story, she rejects the somewhat slimy hand of a tour guide to show her strength and independence. (Also, he’s a bit creepy…)

Laureline doesn't need the tour guide's helping hand

In the last story of the book, Valerian’s derring do and smart plan to win the day is reveal to be all a part of Laureline’s plotting.

In other words, if you’re a Laureline fan, you definitely want to read this book.

If you want to see more of the interplay between Laureline and Valerian, this book is probably going to be your favorite. I like all the ways we see the two of them interact.  It’s not just her mind couple with his brawn.  The two get along really well, like they could finish each other’s sentences. They appreciate each other.  They can play, tease, and enjoy each other.  And, yes, there’s even post-coital moment in the book…

The funny thing is, I can remember reading the first two volumes and not being sure what their relationship was.  That became more obvious as time went on, but in the earliest books it wasn’t a focus of the story.

Laureline and Valerian dance in costume

On a related note, Claire Napier has a nice piece on their relationship that’s worth reading.

 

The Panel That Made Me Laugh

Christin takes a couple more opportunities to take shots at Star Wars that made me laugh out loud.  I love a good bit of in-joke snarky humor.  If you give the Shingouz the lines, it’s even funnier.

Star Wars ripped off Valerian, not vice versa

For more on this relationship, check out The Craft of Coding’s write-up, with lots of visual comparisons.

 

Recommended?

Valerian and Laureline v22: Memories of the Future cover by Mezieres

Yes, but only if you’ve already read all of Valerian and those first 8 books or so are still fresh in your mind.  If you fit those two requirements, you’ll enjoy how these stories fit in.  If you’re a fan of the Valerian and Laureline relationship, then you want to run to get this book digitally today…

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #113.)

 

Buy It Now

At the time of this writing, Amazon is offering pre-orders of the paperback edition, but no Kindle edition.

Buy this book on Amazon Click here to buy digital BD comics albums through Izneo.com  Buy this book on Comixology

Izneo.com Preview

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