Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Asterix the Gaul - René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

Summary: The year is 50BC, and all Gaul is occupied. Only one small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. But how much longer can Asterix, Obelix and their friends resist the mighty Roman legions of Julius Caesar? Anything is possible, with a little cunning plus the druid Getafix's magic potions! Their effects can be truly hair-raising... (image and summary from goodreads.com)

My Review: When I was a kid, I loved looking at my dad's extensive collection of Asterix books.  Aside from one, however, I couldn't read them, because they were all in French.  It wasn't until I was able to later find English translations at the library that I was able to more fully appreciate the delight that are the Asterix books.

This little village of Gauls refuses to give in to the Roman Empire, and that makes for the main conflict nearly every time.  In this first story, we learn about Asterix, his best friend Obelix, and the other Gauls in the village, who have a secret that keeps them from having to succumb to the Roman army--a magic potion brewed by their druid Getafix that bestows the drinker superhuman strength for a time.

I've always loved the humor of Asterix.  It's witty and clever, and the name puns are always great (Crismus Bonus, anyone?).  This first installment is particularly fun, as Asterix turns trickster when he goes to save Getafix and they have a laugh all at the expense of the Romans.  The dangerous situations are always treated lightly and are more comic than frightening.  

The characters are also just so delightful.  Asterix's friend Obelix is another favorite, and though he's not in this one as much as he is in the others, we get to appreciate his kind of dull-witted demeanor which counters Asterix's very sharp wit, but which doesn't dampen their tight friendship.  We also get an introduction to the village bard Cacophonix (whose music nobody likes), Getafix the wise druid, and the chief, Vitalstatistix (see, these names, they kill me!)

My Rating: Four Stars

For the sensitive reader: lots of cartoon violence, the Gauls delight in and are constantly beating up Roman soldiers.

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