Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Secret History Book Seventeen: Operation Kadesh

Written by Jean-Pierre Pécau
Art by Igor Kordey

I really have no idea what's going on with Archaia, but it's nice to see that they are publishing books again, and it's always nice to see another issue of The Secret History.

This is probably the most sprawling and complex comic I've ever read.  This issue alone takes place in Egypt, Soviet Russia, Hungary, and the US, with further discussion of events in Lebanon, Korea, and Israel.  The series has followed the established events of human history, and worked them into an alternate history, founded on the existence of four (now three) Archons, powerful immortal beings that are able to use four rune stones to magical effect.

Now, in the post-nuclear world, the remaining Archons are losing their influence on events (Erlin even gets tossed out of the White House by Richard Nixon), but are still finding themselves involved in the course of history.

Much of this particular volume is confusing, as the story flits from location to location, without centring for very long on any one character or group of characters.  Once the comic decides to focus on the events of the Soviet takeover of Hungary, things improve considerably.  The introduction of Lizbeth, a Hungarian Roma player (in other words, a person with abilities) helps ground the story, and make things much more interesting.  I hope we see more of her in the next issue (whenever that gest published - there is as much chance of it coming out next week as next June).

As always, Igor Kordey does a terrific job of keeping this massive cast of characters straight, while still creating some dynamic pages.  This is a fascinating book, but sometimes reading it really feels like work.

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