De Vliegenier Het Vertrek – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Written by: Jean-Charles Kraehn
Illustrations: Erik Arnoux, Chrys Millien
Coloring: Patricia Jambers
Publisher: Dargaud

De Vliegenier Het Vertrek – Comic Book Review

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Good: The coloring makes everything come to life
Bad: Nothing worth mentioning
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We often tend to think that the First World War raged mainly in Europe, nonetheless, Africa also had its fair share of the war, because the colonies of the different parties fought against each other as well. During all this madness, Josef Schäfer grows up in Deutsch-Ostafrika, a German colony where his father is both vicar and doctor. In the vastness of the African steppe, his Albatros B II airplane comes in handy to visit patients, and along the way, he teaches Josef how to fly as well.

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Josef’s first flight is to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Becker, where his father has to attend to Mr. Becker’s broken arm. Mrs. Becker, a whole lot younger than her husband, shows a lot of interest in Joseph’s aerobatics, even though his landing didn’t go that well. It’s quite noticeable that she is paying him a bit too much attention, and Josef, only seventeen, immediately falls for her charms. She even kisses him when they have a moment alone, leaving him in Seventh Heaven.

Once home, it’s back to reality. His uncle Friedrich pays them a visit, be it only to ask for a big favor. He joined the German troops in Africa and is lieutenant in the troops of Captain Neumann. The airplane would come in handy in attacks on the English and the Belgian, but Josef’s father refuses to lend his airplane for such atrocities, thus Friedrich leaves for battle once again, without the hoped result.

A few weeks later, Josef goes back to the Beckers, to fix the broken engine of their tractor, but before he is able to get started the next day, Silke – Mrs. Becker – comes up to him and starts to undress. Despite it being Josef’s first time, they both enjoyed it very much, yet all of a sudden, Mr. Becker runs into them. The short love story is immediately over, and both Silke and Josef get punished. While the whippings and the heartache are already too much to bear for Josef, it gets even worse when he finds out that Silke is dead, murdered by her husband. Josef’s father knows, but doesn’t report him, which makes Josef furious. That’s why he comes up with a wild plan that includes taking his father’s plane and going to meet his uncle Friedrich. Nonetheless, he doesn’t only want to hurt his dad, he is also out for revenge.

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To be honest, the story we just told isn’t the beginning of the comic book. The album starts quite a few years later, when Joseph isn’t Josef but is called Tanguy, and travels with a friend called Yann. Josef sends him his diaries a few weeks later, explaining why he is tired of living. From there on, we get sucked into Josef’s past, together with Yann. To use a frame story was quite a nice idea of Jean-Charles Kraehn, as it immediately raises some questions about this Tanguy. The frame story is also a nice touch due to the fact that Tanguy is actually a character from a different series called Tramp, thus there is an immediate link. Nonetheless, even without ever having read Tramp, you’ll be well able to read this comic book.

The story itself gives an interesting view on the First World War. Besides the romance we’ve been telling you about, you will also get an insight into the battles in Africa, and the thinking of the Germans at that time. In short, the story never bores and is informative while at the same time Josef’s story is still the key subject.

Erik Arnoux and Chrys Millien provide very detailed illustrations and together with Patricia Jambers’ broad color palette, they really make the story come to life. The panels are arranged in almost a random pattern, which enables the crew to lay focus on specific illustration, again adding so much more to the story.


De Vliegenier Het Vertrek is very interesting, because of the story as well as the illustrations and coloring. The story has quite a fast pace and together with the vibrant coloring and the detailed illustrations, it all comes to life beautifully. We were definitely pleasantly surprised about this one.

De Vliegenier 1

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De Vliegenier Het Vertrek - Comic Book Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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