Ultralazer by Henry, Duque and Giraud : the Art of Franco-Belgian Shonen
Released last February 27th, Ultralazer is Pauline Giraud, Maxence Henry and Yvan Duque‘s new comic published by Delcourt. In this first volume entitled Horb and Bouko, we follow Horb, a young boy and his companion, Bouko, a kind of great red dash, in their adventure to try to save the King of Beasts and their planet, Topoï, from the commander of the Buzzard invasion forces, Xor. For that, they will seek for the “Ultralazer”, a mysterious power, which will help them to triumph over their enemies.
After a first realization together in 2014, Katarakt!, Duque and Henry, have integrated Pauline Giraud into their team of authors for the first title of this series, which, we hope, will enable us to travel again in many other volumes. Indeed the main strength of Ultralazer is there: a graphically rich universe that arouses wonder at every shot encountered. The style is unique, halfway between manga and a cartoon by Genndy Tartakovsky.
Princess Monono… ¿ qué ?
Speaking of references, Ultralazer also assumes an heavy cultural heritage. If many quote Dragon Ball, especially for a sequence of the comics, the rapprochement with the Japanese culture would rather, in my opinion, looking towards Miyazaki. Visually, at first, the characters are very close to those presented in the films of the studio Ghibli. We can compare Horb and Bouko to Ashitaka and Yakuru, famous duo of Princess Mononoke.
Miyazaki’s movie also shares certain common themes with the comics: a living-god personifying Nature that has to be saved, a hero who will have to leave his home after a tragedy, throwing him into an adventure at first lonely. In general, Duque, Giraud and Henry’s comics are part of the pure tradition of shonen, the Japanese initiation story that puts young heroes in adventures that will lead them to embrace certain positive values such as going beyond themself, group spirit or friendship to overcome the obstacles they will encounter.
We can only regret a simple scenario, that is rather a pretext for the trip than truly surprising. Nevertheless the comics can be read by everyone and it is really one of its greatest strengths. The youngest readers will find great characters evolving in a amazing magical world. The more experienced ones will have the pleasure of counting references and get lost in the drawings of this title perfectly aesthetically mastered.