In Review: Thorgal – The Cage

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Writer Jean Van Hamme and artist Gzegorz Rosinski’s ongoing tales of the Viking adventurer Thorgal continue in The Cage, the fifteenth Thorgal book that Cinebook have published covering twenty-one of the original French albums.

Recent books have covered Thorgal’s loss of memory and its devastating consequences of this on his wife Aaricia and their children Jolan and Wolfcub. In The Cage Aaricia and the children have settled down to life on an island with Jolan’s two young friends, an island that Thorgal sets out to, and does, find. While the children accept him as their father, Aaricia is less forgiving, denying that he is indeed Thorgal and imprisoning him as a danger to the children. Thorgal must not just escape his cage but convince his wife to love him again.

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For a series that is based around a lone adventurer writer Van Hamme has spent a lot of time over the past few books fleshing out the world of Thorgal’s family and, given the length of time that he has been away from Aaricia and the devastating consequences of his amnesia on her, it is perhaps unsurprising that she is not prepared to meekly allow him back into her, life. While this may sound like more of a kitchen sink drama than the typical Thorgal title, the book has enough action as our hero has to save the lives of his family from attackers to maintain the reader’s desire for the action scenes that are more typical of the series.

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From the bright colours of sunny beaches, via rainy forests to warmly lit interiors and cold night exteriors, the artwork by artist Grzegorz Rosinski and colourist Graza (Grazyna Foltyn-Kasprzak) is always impressive. Despite the book having such a wide range of locations, people and moods, the art and colouring never falters and as always remains a major draw of the Thorgal series for me.

Thorgal – The Cage reunites Thorgal with his family once again and brings the Shaigan The Merciless arc to a satisfying conclusion. Effectively everything in the series from this point forwards could be new and, considering that there are six more Jean Van Hamme written Thorgals still to be translated into English, it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

• There are more details of the English language Thorgal books at the Cinebook website

• There are more details of the French language Thorgal albums at the official Thorgal website (in French)

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