Written by: Benjamin Legrand
De Orde #1 Tannhauser – Comic Book Review
Even now, in heated debates the crusades are still mentioned, as to how brutal Christianity was centuries ago, and that these barbaric practices were always defended as they were for a so-called ‘righteous’ cause. Nonetheless, our human nature always finds new lucrative ways of justifying evil actions, be it for religion, the sake of peace, or simply out of fear of being struck first. De Orde takes us back to the sixteenth century, where the Muslims were preparing to conquer a large portion of the world, and they were right at Malta’s doorstep, with enormous numbers, compared to the dwindling forces of Christianity, but before the conflict started, things revolve around the key character of this issue, Tannhauser.
Mattie, the firstborn son of a smith in the sixteenth century, wants nothing more than the path that was already decided for him at birth, namely follow in his father’s footsteps and spend his life at the smithy. Not only does he want to do the same job as his father, he also wishes to gain his approval, thus he decides to make a dagger while his father is away, which Mattie can show him when his father returns. In the midst of his crafting, his sister hears a noise, and before he knows it his sister is lying in a pool of her own blood, and the village is being torn down by pillagers, who murder everyone in sight. After seeing his own mother dead, Mattie is enraged and tries to fight the best he can, but it would only be a matter of time before he would kick the bucket as well. Nonetheless, he gets saved by a high ranked Muslim warrior, who then takes Mattie with him, to train him, to become one of the elite as well. The new name given to him is Ibrahim, but even said name he doesn’t keep for that long, as in the future he will be known as Tannhauser, a feared warrior, who the Christians seemingly want on their side. At least, safe for a certain priest, who doesn’t like Tannhauser’s heretic ways. When a countess with a personal request is thrown in the mix, things get dangerous.
As this album spans around 80 pages, there’s more than enough time to paint the proper picture, but the story never moves too slowly. You’ll be treated to a fair bit of action, but also a giant portion of politics, how Tannhauser’s life unfolded, and the rising conflicts between the Christian and Muslim forces. There’s a hefty amount of text to plow through, making this a rather heavy issue, but it remains interesting and exciting from cover to cover. Benjamin Legrand knows how to create a story with a very loaded historical setting, and makes it into something that is clearly heading towards an epic adventure.
Illustration wise, this first album of De Orde is a perfect blend of very realistic scenes, with typical comic book influences, which transcend said realistic experience. Luc Jacamon does a great job in bringing his characters to life, and every single one of them looks unique, which is quite uncommon in many comic books. Often characters look the same, but the world inside this series looks extremely diverse, which adds another layer to the realism aspect. Colors are rather dark and vague, but the usage of light is also done in a superb fashion, making certain scenes stand out from others.
De Orde #1 Tannhauser is a great start of this four-part series, which clearly has a lot in store for us. This album all surrounded the mysterious warrior/privateer/romantic Tannhauser, who set aside his plans for an easy life, to follow his quest for love, or at least the love of someone else. We can’t wait to see what this well drawn and well written story will bring us next.