Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"By the Devil's horns
"Calm down, sister. Put the dagger down. I'm afraid you're all alone. And kneel before your King."
"How dare you?"
"All the vassals in the Kingdom have already pledged their allegiance to me."
"That's impossible. Lord Ulrik? Lord Darcelle? Is this true? You too, Ancelin? Have you so little honour?"
"It would have been easy to slit your throat. But I am magnanimous. I'll settle for exiling you to the Island of Malefosse per the Regent's counsel."
"Vaudemont. Of course. Your lust for power has no limits, I see."
Nothing like a good old-fashioned family bust-up to brighten the (coronation) day. Except
it's not going to be Princess Tilda's triumphant accession to the gilded armchair of absolute authority any longer, following the sad dynastic demise of her much loved father. Nay, instead her weasely bowl-headed younger brother is about to usurp the unsuspecting Tilda with the aid of the dastardly Lord Vaudemont and ah
her mum! Now that's a wholly wrongful birthright betrayal which must cut very deep indeed
Maybe Tilda shouldn't put down that dagger just yet!
Here's the publisher to deliver a rousing regal decree regarding Tilda and her (almost) subjects' malcontent of the state of current affairs in the most definitely not Queendom
"A medieval saga with political intrigue reminiscent of Game of Thrones, The Golden Age is an epic graphic novel duology about utopia and revolution! In the kingdom of Lantrevers, suffering is a way of life - unless you're a member of the ruling class. Princess Tilda plans to change all that.
As the rightful heir of late King Ronan, Tilda wants to deliver her people from famine and strife. But on the eve of her coronation, her younger brother, backed by a cabal of power-hungry lords, usurps her throne and casts her into exile.
Now Tilda is on the run. With the help of her last remaining allies, Tankred and Bertil, she travels in secret through the hinterland of her kingdom. Wherever she goes, the common folk whisper of a legendary bygone era when all men lived freely. There are those who want to return to this golden age - at any cost. In the midst of revolution, how can Tilda reclaim her throne?"
I think I will just add at this point
but what is more important to Tilda, her throne or the happiness of the people
For by the end of this opening majestic tome of who knows how many - probably not as many volumes as George Arf Arf Martin will never quite finish penning of the moneymaking musical merrygoround of stately seating - you might be left pondering the idea that personal revenge is considerably more important to Tilda than the rights of her potential subjects, given how stroppy she manages to get with one the very few remaining people still loyal and prepared to help her
"You're turning a blind eye and deaf ear to your people's will for justice!"
"Don't use that tone with me! You've forgotten to whom you speak!"
"Tilda. In the world you would reign over, we will never be equals. I can't forget that
I guarantee, however, that you will want it to be quite a few volumes after reading this glorious opening salvo resplendent with pageantry and replete with privation alike. I'm guessing two or three in complete candour, but you certainly could twist my arm - preferably not with a medieval torture device - and make it four or five, which would certainly result in screams of pleasure rather than pain!
But let's enjoy the era of Golden Age The First
for in the realm of graphic novels there are some that are destined to rule over all too! At least for a few weeks once crowned Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month anyway! With that said, this is certainly a courtly contender for my most beautiful book of the whole year already. A quick glance at the cover, shrouded in mystery and inviting intrigue with a lonesome cloaked Tilda astride a horse, casting a strange mystical armoured reflection in a gently eddying pool of water, deep underneath the canopy of a dark royal blue forest of leaves, surrounded by brilliant pink blossom-filled bushes, is merely the most teasing hint of what wonders lies within the covers.
Fans of Cyril EQUINOXES Pedrosa, who previously lorded over it all like the aristocrat of art that he is - well, okay for a month again with former Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month PORTUGAL - will already be well aware already of what a prodigious talent he is. But here I feel he has upped his game anew, with a wilfully, dashingly different and at times strikingly contrasting, expansive colour palette, complimenting an intoxicatingly elegant art style, all elevated further still by use of short, staccato linework for shading and texture that I suspect even the master of said technique himself, Signor Toppi (COLLECTED TOPPI), would have had to just pause and admire. Yes, this is a book whose artwork you can radiantly bask in most indulgently indeed.
The writing, co-scripted by Roxanne Moreil with Pedrosa, is just as imperiously brilliant. You may well find yourself rooting for the underclass even more than Tilda, though, depending on your personal republican vs. regent sensibilities, as the rabble gets ever rowdier and more rambunctious against the backdrop of the increasingly obnoxious Tilda's unlikely mission to regain, well technically gain I suppose, her throne.
As mentioned, I genuinely don't know how many more volumes this epic will run to. I do suspect just one or two, maybe three at a push, rather than attempting to better Louis The XIX reign as the highest ever numbered French ruler. Even though I felt he never really counted, only managing some twenty minutes as King himself, before wisely following his dad's example who swiftly abdicated during the July Revolution of 1830 when he felt the sharpening winds of change blowing around his suddenly itchy collar... Always better to quit whilst you're ahead
and you've still got yours, I find. Probably not advice that Tilda is likely to follow though