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Book Review < Back

The Beast Trilogy

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Enki Bilal
Publisher: Humanoids (DC)

Commentary

Nike is a memory artist in a future of messy tech, polluted air and untrustworthy governments concocting conspiracies that entrap everyone. His talent is to recall his life down to the smallest detail, and his project is to remember as far back as possible, working his way back towards the memory of his birth. He knows the most important people in his life are his fellow orphans Leyla and Amir, born in the same Sarajevo hospital as he during the war of the 1990s. Children linked by loss and violence.

When Nike survives an attempt to recruit him into a global conspiracy, he realises that Leyla and Amir, both scattered to other parts of the world, are in danger as well, and sets out to find them. However, Leyla and Amir have problems of their own: she's an astrophysicist on board a satellite about to be attacked by the conspiracy, while unemployed Amir and his girlfriend Sacha are about to be inducted into the ranks of the conspiracy's zombie footsoldiers. All three of them, pawns of a terrorist mastermind.

European science fiction can be a different beast from the clean, almost antiseptic machine stories we know from traditional American sci-fi. It tends towards the political, the psychological, the surreal, and the intensely personal, with moments of very strange humor. It can also be quite messy, a cacophony of mad ideas and melancholy emotions.

That's Enki Bilal's work in a nutshell.

The dormant beast in Enki Bilal's story is War, and Bilal, a Yugoslavian, is well aware of the effects of war on the lives of people who lived through it, and might have to live through it again.

-- Adi Tantimedh

 
Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.

 


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