Leo (Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira) and Rodolphe (Rodolphe Daniel Jacquette) return to the continent of Africa for more adventures of MI6 agent Kathy Austin this time illustrated by Bertrand Marchal with colour work by Sebastien Bouet. In this follow-up series to Kenya, Kathy is this time assigned to an investigation in Nambia.
After her experiences in the east coast British colony of Kenya, MI6 agent Kathy Austin returns to Africa but this time to the west coast former German colony of Namibia which in 1949 is governed by South Africa. Photos taken during a journalistic investigation into new ways of planting crops in Namibia are forwarded to MI6 in London as they appear to show Hitler’s second in command, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, alive and well some four years after his apparent suicide at Nuremburg. That crops being investigated are being over-run by abnormally large caterpillars is not something that MI6 even discuss.
Kathy is assigned to investigate with local MI6 agent Major Bowley who is misogynistic towards her, racist towards the locals, and generally unhappy to have been assigned as agent on the ground in Namibia working undercover running a drilling company. Kathy, also working undercover as a part of the same company, meets UN official Robert McDonald who is investigating the crops and Bowley very reluctantly drives them to the area where the crops are, and where Göring was seen. Once there they discover that the caterpillars have pupated into swarming insects.
Leo and Rodolphe, after being both writers and artists on Kenya, take a step back here to script and layouts leaving the finished artwork to Bertrand Marchal. He does a good job with it maintaining the recognisable characters from the original series and weaving rich backgrounds into both the city and country scenes in Namibia as well as the rather more drab post war London.
The cold war manoeuvrings of Kenya are here, initially at least, replaced by a post-war Nazi hunt that, admittedly, could have dire consequences for the relationships between the various former wartime allies, although those who have read the last book in the Kenya series may already have an idea about the appearance of Göring. However, although it is not Kathy’s mission to discover what is going on with the caterpillars and insects, given the cover image we can already see that Leo and Rodolphe’s plotting is leading us to believe that they may be a much larger part of the plot than our main character currently believes.
France is up to the fifth and final Namibia book and since the second and third Nambia books are scheduled to be published by Cinebook before the end of this year, I would expect to see the Cinebook translations of books four and five appear relatively quickly in 2017.
Namibia Episode 1 continues the political intrigue and unusual beasts of the Kenya series without the need to have read the five books of that series. It is therefore a good jumping on place for readers new to Leo and Rodolphe’s intriguing take on the dark continent.
• There are more details of the English language editions of Nambia on the Cinebook website. Episodes 2 and 3 are due to be published before the end of 2016.
• There are more details of all five Namibia publications on the Dargaud website (in French)
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