De Cambridge Five Deel 2: 54 Broadway – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: History
Written by: Valérie Lemaire
Illustrations: Olivier Neuray
Coloring: Dominique Osuch
Publisher: Casterman

De Cambridge Five Deel 2: 54 Broadway – Comic Book Review

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Good: Coloring
Bad: Very complex and hard to follow
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The previous issue of The Cambridge Five ended with a blast, quite literally. Kim Philby and several fellow journalists writing for influential magazines and newspapers were attacked in Spain by an airplane, leaving no survivors but Philby himself. And that’s right where this new, second issue starts off. The war is now unavoidable and the five work harder than ever for revolution, for the Soviets and against the flourishing fascism.

De cambridge five 1

While Philby is being decorated by general Franco, the others of the Cambridge Five applaud him, as now nobody will ever think that he has any ties with the Soviets. His friends aren’t doing bad either though. Guy got a job at MI6, while Donald works at the British embassy in Paris.

With ties in the highest circles of the British government and intelligence agencies, the five are perfectly placed to leak vital information to the Soviets. They know for a fact that the French and the English won’t declare war to Germany unless Hitler decides to attack Poland. Thus the Soviets want to make a pact with the German not to attack. That way the Germans will attack Poland and the USSR can focus on Finland and the Baltic States, without fearing an attack from Hitler, as he needs the supplies the Soviets give him.

The Cambridge Five are not too happy about the way things are going, as they do sympathize with communism, but definitely not with fascism, something they indirectly do now that the USSR and Germany have sealed their pact. It puts them in a difficult position, but quitting is just not an option right now.

Just like the first issue, this issue takes off right away, bombarding you with information. The different storylines of all five men often start very abruptly, thus often when you turn a page you’ll suddenly be reading a different storyline, adding to the complexity of this album. Truth be told, the story of this series is quite the interesting one, it’s just the way in which it is told that we have certain issues with.

Olivier Neuray’s illustrations look very clean once again. The use of thicker black lines and the lack of smaller lines to soften the facial expressions, makes the characters look quite strong and determined. Also the frequent use of shadows and the dark places where they often meet add to this feeling.

Next to the shadows, it’s mostly the backdrops that make this series come to life. Due to the fact that many scenes happen after dusk, a lot of detail was put into coloring the muted lights that shine on walls, or the beautiful colors of the sky slowly preparing for nightfall. The coloring definitely helps to set the perfect atmosphere in every scene.


De Cambridge Five Deel 2: 54 Broadway tells a fascinating story, yet it moves very fast, making it difficult to follow. It’s a bit sad to see that Valérie Lemaire and Olivier Neuray didn’t take more time, as a complex story such as this one isn’t easy to translate to a comic book. We did like the illustrations though, and especially the coloring, which adds an extra dimension to the issue.

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