Valerian – The Empire of a Thousand Planets
Authors: Mézières & Christin
Age: 12 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Publication: July 2011
Price: £5.99 inc. VAT
Valerian and Laureline are exploring Syrte, capital planet of a system of 1,000 worlds. Their mission is to discover whether the Syrtians could present a danger to Earth. What they find is a decaying empire led by decadent aristocrats, a population ripe for revolution, and a mysterious caste of masked wise men who discreetly pull the strings from hidden fortresses. Swept up by the winds of history, the agents of Earth will have to choose a side…
Valerian was one of those strips that I originally saw and read in the first incarnation of the German comic Zack. At the time I can recall that I was impressed by the colour work and use of shades of a particular colour. I also loved the concept and I think, somewhere on one of those shelves marked “European” I still have a couple of battered copies.
The use of colour tone is well displayed on, amongst others, pages 18, 20, 26 and 27. At my age should I still be getting a buzz out of this –and, yes, I do still sniff new books when they arrive. Cinebook titles have a rather pleasing and unique smell to them. Perhaps now is a good time to call nurse and get her to check my medication?
Another thing I like is Jean-Claude Mézières story and writing. How much trouble could you get in by buying an antique watch on an alien planet and stating what its function is? Quite a bit actually. Valerian almost stumbles through the adventure while Laureline seems to be far more grounded.
The Empire Of A Thousand Planets is a wonderful adventure and I’ve read through it about three times since it arrived –mainly because of that bloody Pierre Christin and his artwork! The aliens, the scenery, the space craft –if there was one Cinebook title I HAD to choose, well, I’d probably have a breakdown because of Orbital! Can I have a joint number 1?
Kid’s will love it. Adults will love it. If you’ve never read Valerian then here’s your chance –and you’ll find out why it is such an international hit!