Asterix and the Picts
Publisher: Orion Publishing
This is the first of the Asterix books not to be written by at least one of the series’ original creators, René Goscinny (who died in 1977) and Albert Uderzo, and has instead been produced by a new creative team headed up by writer Jean-Yves Ferri. It therefore bears the weight of some high expectations, especially from long-term fans. Thankfully, these expectations are likely to be met, though not without some minor quibbles.
The plot is typical Asterix fare: when a Caledonian warrior encased in a block of ice is washed up on the beach near the Gaulish Village, our heroes, the eponymous and Asterix and his mountain-like companion Obelix, are drawn into a very silly adventure in Scotland. As might be expected, this involves a whole host of elements familiar to Asterix readers including wrongs to be righted, captured maidens, dastardly Romans and dreadful puns. Though perhaps not as tight as some earlier books in the series (and sometimes a bit obvious with regards to the Scottish setting), there’s a lot to like here for both newcomers to the series and established fans. Special mention should also be made of Didier Conrad’s penmanship which, more than a pastiche of Albert Uderzo’s style, is superb.