Customer Reviews: The Arctic Marauder (Adventures of Jerome Plumier)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars12
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on June 24, 2011
Obviously, if you're checking out reviews of this book, you're already interested in Jacques Tardi's work. And his artwork here is great (GREAT!), even more so if you're into steampunk. But as great as the artwork is, the story end doesn't quite hold up. It is a twist on an adventure story, and I did enjoy that. However, the story ends abruptly, and the whole thing feels unfinished. Beyond that, the story is broken up into a series of very short segments that can be dialogue-heavy at times, and doesn't flow as well as it could.

Bottom line: if you're trying to find a Tardi book to start with, go with "West Coast Blues" or "It Was the War of the Trenches," both of which have very good stories and artwork. I'd feel pretty badly if this was a reader's introduction to Jacques Tardi's work, though, because even though it has good qualities, it's not as well-rounded of an album as the other two books I mentioned.
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on December 23, 2011
Originally created by Jacques Tardi in 1972, this 2011 re-issue of his satirical, proto-steampunk adventure comic is a fantastic addition to any comics/graphic novel collector's library. The Edwardian-inspired scratchboard artwork and page design are exquisite and inspirational. The translation(from the French) feels a bit spotty at times, and the story is a bit wonky in the way that such period adventure tales tend to be; you sort of need to commit yourself to enjoying the ride even if it doesn't always make sense. Unfortunately for this reader, the book ends abruptly, and I am not aware of a sequel, but it was very fun read and an extraordinary feast for the eyes and imagination.
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2011
Let me preface by saying that the illustrations in this graphic novel are by far some of the best pieces of artwork that I have ever seen! When artwork this good is placed next to text, the story pales in comparison. Such is the case with this graphic novel.

A ship is sailing peacefully in the arctic when a crewman spots another ship perched atop an iceberg. The captain from the first ship sends a dinghy out to the stranded ship in hopes of saving the passengers or at least discovering how the ship got there. When they arrive, they find that all of the crewman on the stranded ship have frozen at their posts. The men turn around in time to see their own ship explode before their eyes. Their future seems beyond bleak and the perched ship sends them on a mysterious journey.

In many ways, the story is classic Steampunk. The graphic novel is in an oversized format which perfectly fits the larger than life tale. The drawings are absolutely beautiful and far outshines the writing, which is also lovely. I truly wanted to love this graphic novel and while I adored the drawings, I did not fall in love with the overall package. Therefore, I have to give it three stars as I found the story confusing and secondary to the illustrations.
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on December 9, 2011
It's steampunk French comics, and it predates the supposed founding works of the steampunk genre, so that right there makes it extremely interesting, as a historical artifact if nothing else. I'm grateful to Fantagraphics for reissuing this work.

The story features some interesting undersea hardware with a strong Jules Verne vibe, but it eventually goes off its heading and the ending is completely bungled. Unless you are a die-hard fan of the genre or medium, or aspire to become a historian of either, don't bother.
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VINE VOICEon February 7, 2013
This English translation of "Le Démon des glaces," an early steampunk graphic novel by Jacques Tardi, features stunning artwork. The book is worth acquiring for the very fine black ink drawings (the magic is in the white spaces). The story is intriguing, too, grabbing the reader from the opening scenes--which makes the abrupt and frustrating ending all the more tragic. How could such a beautiful work of art go so very wrong?

The story, set in 1889, is largely set in a murky, iceberg-prone corner of the Atlantic, where ships are mysteriously sinking. As the tale opens, the steamship L'Anjou plows through a thick snowstorm when the first mate spies a tall, narrow iceberg upon which an apparently marooned clipper is precariously perched. The captain of L'Anjou sends a landing party, including a medical student, Jérôme Plumier, to see if there are any survivors. What they find is a ghostly, ice-covered ship, The Iceland Loafer, with its crew frozen in place. Among them is the captain, sitting at his table, pointing to a spot on a map. As the landing party puzzles over this bizarre scene, L'Anjou suddenly explodes and sinks.

The story, which revolves around the survivor, Plumier, marvelously unfolds in unexpected if sometimes cheesy directions. Near the end, the pace picks up as the novel turns from science fiction to action-adventure. And then, as if running out of paper, Tardi just stops the story, appending a lame, moralistic and facile footnote to what was heretofore a captivating tale. This reader was simply stunned. Why did Tardi do that? As noted above, the artwork enthralls: Tardi is a master at drawing the ships, ports and cityscapes of late nineteenth France. It's too bad that, at the last moment, his storytelling skills failed him.
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on June 20, 2011
Like everything the French do, this book is drop-dead gorgeous. A faux-woodcut style and absurd attention to detail bring this Jules Verne- and Edgar Allen Poe-inspired story to life. The dialog is a little awkward, it reads as unnecessarily anachronistic, even compared to the works to which the author/illustrator pays homage. But the plot twist is a funny 180 on the classic adventure tale, and fans of the genre should appreciate it. Even so, the art overshadows the story and dialog, especially in this large, French-style format. Lovely!
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on June 5, 2011
Tardi said it didn't reach well in Europe when this was first released around 30 years ago but its good to see Fantagraphics had the courage to release in english as usual his art is unique and the story line is unique as well as Its Tardi all the way and he is a master in both story and art.

The book format is a welcome as its a good over-sized album with nice cover, as you could have read in other reviews a steam punk with a twist.
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on June 2, 2013
As others have written, this is a beautiful book to look at, but the story is short, formulaic, and ends abruptly. It reads like a fragments of a much longer and much better work (which it is not!).
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on July 13, 2011
Overall, a very good story with a lot of surprises and a surprise ending. The illustration is excellent, all black and white. The machinery drawing is fun to examine.

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on March 25, 2015
The story is fine, but what really draws you in is the amazing steam punk illustrations. Highly recommend this book to anyone who likes graphic novels.
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