On the world of Troy, most humans have a single magic power. Each power is unique to the person and includes such diverse feats as walking on water, personal teleportation, and causing thirst in others. However, none can use their power unless in the close or remote presence of a sage of Eckmul, Troy’s truest version of a studied magician.
Lanfeust is an orphan and an apprentice blacksmith who can heat metal at will. His adventure begins when he’s asked to mend the sword of a passing aristocrat. When handling the sword’s pommel, which was made of ivory from the Magohamoth – a legendary magical beast – Lanfeust gains the power to use any power known in Troy, more so without the presence of a sage. Nicolede, both the local sage and Lanfeust’s future father-in-law, persuades Lanfeust to accompany him and his daughters C’ian and Cixi to the University of Magic in Eckmul in order to learn more about this phenomenon.
Of course, while life is fairly safe and tranquil in the magic-laced villages of Troy, outside the villages it is a completely different story and Lanfeust and his travelling companions (including a newly turned troll) are soon involved in both desperate flight and fight as they struggle forth towards their final destination of Eckmul!
As you have gathered by now, Lanfeust of Troy is firmly set in your traditional sword and sorcery fantasy mould, though it does take on a uniquely European feel to the various settings, interactions and environments which is a nice change of pace from the usual American fare we have access to. Arleston’s writing is a work of pure fantasy interlaced with loads of subtle and sometimes not so subtle humour, making it an absolute treat to read. The situations and interaction between the various characters makes for an enjoyable ride, particularly the way in which the insufferable vixen Cixi teases Lanfeust every step of the way. There is a fair bit of visual violence and gore you must be warned, but usually this is done in such a way to make it part of the fun. The story is well paced and sets us up for a great series that is surely to follow.
With regards to the artwork, Didier’s pencils feel a little rough in places and sometimes he doesn’t quite seem to get the character expressions exactly right, but there is an unmistakable ‘humanness’ to his characters who are all extremely expressive and instantaneously loveable. His line work is pretty solid and the amount of detail pushed in everywhere is superb. His creature designs in particular need special mention because he has to come up with a lot of weird and wacky specimens to inhabit the world of Troy and some of his designs are simply magical – even his dragons don’t look like anything you’ve seen before! His layouts and pencils remain clear and crisp throughout the volume which serves to make Lanfeust both look good and easy to follow at the same time.
Overall, Lanfeust of Troy: Magohamoth’s Ivory is a great start to what is going to be a great fantasy-fuelled comedy romp that both looks great and will have you chuckling aloud to yourself almost all of the way. This is definitely one of the better strips originating from mainland Europe and makes for a nice change of pace from all the American stuff that we usually only have access to.
(And as a further bonus, you can pick it up for cheap here in SA thanks to Pepic and Kraus publishing house having picked it up, promising that more will follow. Well worth it!)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanfeust_of_Troy