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on October 29, 2011
This volume is the first of the "Valerian" series (here called "Valerian and Laureline"), a classic and long running franco-belgium science fiction series. This series is credits with influencing several prominent science fiction movies.

Valerian and Laureline are spatio-temporal agents for the future earth empire Galaxity. They can travel in space and time from the 28th century. Valerian is an agent from that time, whereas Laureline is actually a peasant girl from the 14th century who joined him. In this story, they must travel back in time to 1986 New York in pursuit of a criminal from their time. Earth at that time was devastated by a nuclear war (the album was originally published in 1970, so this was the "future" for them). V&L know that Earth will rebuild, so they avoid messing with the past, but are successful with their mission.

Cinebooks plans on reprinted the whole series, many for the first time in English, like this album, at a rate of about 2 per year. I look forward to them, as I've only gotten the prior 8 of the albums that have been reprinted in the US. I wish they would also reprint the actual first album, "Bad Dreams" that comes before this one, that shows how Laureline joins Valerian.
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on April 10, 2016
Fantastic looking comics. The translation does seem to be a little plain or uninspired, but I assume they're pretty straight forward. A really fun looks at 60s Sci-Fi in the vein of STAR WARS and DOCTOR WHO, but that is more likely to have influenced those franchises than to be influenced by them.
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on December 2, 2013
THE CITY OF SHIFTING WATERS by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin is not the greatest science-fiction comic book ever. But it is the beginning of what is one of the most influential, entertaining and long-lasting sci-fi comic books. Ever.

The cartoonish illustration style of Mézières, in the European tradition, has been a problem for those attempting to break into the superhero-saturated U.S. market. But given the recent interest and popularity in the more fluid and expressive illustration styles of the likes of Darwyn Cooke or Jordi Bernet, it might finally be the right time for appreciating the mastery of the nonrealistic line.

Writer Christin, whose later collaborations with Enki Bilal and Jacques Tardi are equally noteworthy, is still learning his craft here. There are a couple of long expository sequences, the characters whose Hawksian banter would soon move to a much higher level of sophistication are now there more to just set off the scenery, and it’s all a bit messy.

Yet some of the concepts are already potent, like a scene where we have flood victims cursing our heroes for not helping them while they stand on the roofs of their devastated homes. He would in future books sharply comment on issues like colonialism or imperialism, but always in a manner that distinguishes an artist from a pompous fool — it enhances the story, gives it weight, but never preaches or takes over.

In the end, any minor issues I have with this book are at most inconveniences. THE CITY OF SHIFTING WATERS is overboiling with iconic images — many of them original, some of which are riffs on older ideas — all crammed into a superb adventure that is still only a modest beginning to one of the finest science-fiction comic books ever created.

Condensed from my Euro Comics Roundup review.
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on April 30, 2016
Amazing comic book. Cannot wait to see the movie next summer. What an exciting opportunity to see what inspired Star Wars!
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on January 31, 2013
Like many European kids I grew up with French and Belgian cartoons and adventures or boneheaded but loveable Valerian and his fiery and smart partner Laureline were always my favorite. Even i never managed to find all translated versions i still loved to watch wonderfully detailed but same time sketchy images by Jean-Claude Mézières which built totally new space empires in my imagination and continued to feed love of fantasy and sci-fi throughout years.

As a story The City of Shifting Waters is still quite plain and does not include so much wildly imaginative ideas as later stories - it is however a good beginning even though it would be nice to get also Bad Dreams translated/published again to understand how Laureline appeared to the story first time. In these first stories Laureline is still not very visible character, which also partially makes stories less interesting but I am happy to see this fantastic series published again and I hope wider English-speaking audiences could also discover its' magic.
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on July 9, 2013
it is difficult to make out the sketches in most places.. you really have to sit under a bright light and concentrate on what all those lines in each box are.. i have drifted off to sleep for three times in a row in the last 2 sessions and still havent been able to complete the book..

wouldnt recommend buying it ( atleast based on my current impression.. will update if the story gets interesting towards the end or picks up in the next installment )
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on September 7, 2015
A classic with beautiful illustrations and a great story
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on July 13, 2015
visually interesting
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on November 27, 2015
Cool series!
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The story really pulls this one along. A time-travel premise gives the author plenty of room to get started, and this starts in a post-apolcalyptic New York. From there, it's escapes from roving bands of looters, evil robots, scuba approaches to secret lairs, ... well plenty to keep the story moving.

More than the story itself, this reprint is like a time capsule sent to us from the mid-1970s, real-life time travel of a different sort. It brings with it the tropes of the time, including climatic collapse forecast to happen in the 1980s. The drawing style brings Asterix to mind - not a bad thing in itself, but not the first visual idiom a comic writer would reach for today. And, as a series opener, this leaves the possibilities wide open.

Readable and entertaining, but I can't call it essential to any collection.

-- wiredweird
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