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Grimoire #3

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2005
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Sebastien Caisse
Artists: Djief, Kness(c)
Publisher: Speakeasy

The impressive third issue of Grimoire takes place aboard a train. There are a number of really good movies that take place or stage important scenes in or around a train--North by Northwest, Murder on the Orient Express, Silver Streak, Goldeneye, just to name a few. I can only think of one other comic book story that took place aboard a train: a Denny O'Neil/Marshall Rogers Batman story from the pre-Crisis, of course.

Sebastien Caisse, Djief and Kness make good use of this rare comic book setting. The outside view of the train looks perfect and that includes the vanishing point. The myriad interior mini-settings are well thought out and well designed. Amandine and Lord Chai--the raccoon--puzzle out the title book in a very comfy looking cabin. A rip-roaring battle takes place on the hull of the train. There's also a signature combination of magic and science as well as super-science in scenes where a winged horse is seen atop the train and a futuristic aircraft matches the speed of the train. A Mexican standoff inside the train leads to revelation and judicious violence.

The train setting invigorates the already solid fantasy weave previously written, but make no mistake. Though the train setting is mostly novel for the medium, what really carries the book is Caisse's skill at characterization and dialogue.

Many figures of fantasy have appeared and disappered through the brief series so far, and none of them sound alike. Amandine in this issue meets a regal dispenser of answers, and the pattern of her speech and body language fits her myth.

Amandine herself is an engaging heroine. The fact that she does not ask for Lord Chai's secrets speaks well of her. The fact that she considers the long-reaching consequences of her actions makes her that more of a noble figure. That she always comes back despite the risk to save her friends and those who have fought on her behalf makes her a powerful and resonant character.

I didn't really think I was going to like The Grimoire as I am not one easily swayed by fantasy, but each issue just keeps me hooked.



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