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Lupus s/c

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Lupus s/c back

Frederik Peeters


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"And so that's how a girl from nowhere managed, in a handful of days, to turn my whole life upside down, making it an inconceivable mess."

It had all started out so simply, as these things always do... just an interplanetary fishing trip with his oldest friend Tony and loads of drugs. Well, perhaps more precisely an interplanetary drug trip with his oldest friend Tony and loads of fishing...

But then Sanaa came into Lupus Lablennorre's life and everything changed in a heartbeat.

Not least because three's a crowd...

Because let's face it, meeting a lonely, mysterious girl with the saddest eyes and a complicated back story in a seedy bar is going to upset the dynamic of any duo, drug-addled or otherwise, right? Especially given Lupus and Tony's friendship, as old and storied as it is, has started to feel rather... strained... recently, as their inherent differences seem to be serving to push them further apart these days, rather than bonding them together like they used to. So throw a femme fatale into the mix and it's bound to be deadly for someone...

But just what or who is Sanaa so desperate to run away from? Will Lupus and Tony ever be able to actually talk about the strange, unspoken tension between them? Are the fish biting? All these questions and many more will be danced and danced around in this not-quite-crime, not-quite-romance on-the-road odyssey around the stars as our trio look for somewhere off the galactic grid to hide out.

I'm a huge fan of Frederick AAMA / BLUE PILLS Peeters. AAMA is one of my favourite science fiction graphic novel stories ever, and BLUE PILLS is an incredibly moving love story in the widest possible, most touching of ways, not just the typical romantic sense. Here he has managed to interweave both of these aspects into a beguiling, compelling and very frequently moving epic.

All three main characters - and well pretty much all of the secondary ones too for that matter - are deeply, deeply flawed, and thus their interactions, and lack of them, are full of conflicting and mismatched emotions that cause conflict aplenty. I think Peeters puts on a masterful display of pathos here, as in turn I felt such pity for Sanaa, Tony and most definitely Lupus, for their collective inabilities to simply be the people who they really want to be. Though frequently, of course, that is also down to the actions, and indeed also inactions, of other highly culpable parties.

In this dysfunctional scenario can Lupus ensure they stay one step ahead of those who are hunting them? Possibly... But probably the biggest question of all is what will happen if they actually do manage to get away...? For Lupus, already fundamentally questioning his own sense of identity and purpose, this increasingly unsettling sequence of events might just be the unmaking and thus making of him.

Reverting to a black and white art style after the glorious colours of AAMA allows Peeters to deploy a lustrously thick brushstroke style of line. At times he uses it sparingly, often depending on the environment I feel, to create intensely stark and brutal surroundings leaving his protagonists completely emotionally exposed, yet at others there is a plethora of detail which is almost hypnotic in its intensity both to us and his characters.

If you want to read something which will challenge your idea of what a science fiction work can be, then this will certainly do it like a long, slow course-correcting re-entry burn. A character study first and foremost, I feel, about how the possibilities for personal change can be seemingly and terrifyingly infinite when suddenly faced with complete and total uncertainty about your future. It might just even change your ideas about yourself. It didn't make me decide to take up fishing though...