September 1812, fortune seems to give up Napoleon I while Moscow goes up in smoke. In the absence of an agreement with the Czar, the Emperor of the French is forced to order retirement so as not to be trapped by winter ... In this news imperial fiction, Ordas and Delaporte tell us how the Eagle becomes a fox to escape the claws of the bear ...
The Old Mustaches
A strange mission for Lieutenant Martel ... He, the former royalist, the veteran of the Vendée wars who fought alongside Monsieur de Charrette, here he is in Moscow in charge of the personal protection of the Emperor. In this month of September 1812, when the head of the French sovereign was put at a price, the mission was not a challenge! Knowing how to use cunning, the Eagle uses disguise to escape the blows of the regicides. While a fake Napoleon gives the change, the real one travels incognito in a canteen's van somewhat isolated from the main body of the army. But this isolation which was to protect him will end up endangering him: the Emperor and a small handful of faithful find themselves quickly assailed on a farm by a horde of Cossacks determined to do battle!
Xavier Delaporte's drawings are in a realistic style and the faces are particularly neat, offering psychological portraits which give all its intensity to comics! The terrible Russian winter is an opportunity to lay the foundations for a relatively dark universe that fits perfectly to the dramatic scenario of Ordas. However, we note at the level of the drawing some approximations in the representation of the weapons, even some detrimental errors such as for example the recurring use of piston rifles totally anachronistic for the First Empire. Indeed, for this period the French army had only flintlock weapons. The first regulatory piston rifle appearing in our armies only with the model 1822 T, a model which was therefore created a year after Napoleon's death on Saint Helena. In the future it would therefore be better to represent the 1777 rifle modified in year IX.
Too bad that these approximations on weaponry are recurrent among comic book designers even though the subject is abundantly documented. Ordas does not derogate from his good reputation as a screenwriter, we have already had the opportunity on various occasions to talk about his comics and novels and once again he offers us an immersive and breathless universe in the Russian countryside. The massive use of slang gives the story a touch of authenticity and the character of the Emperor will not unsettle the regulars of imperial comics: Napoleon is presented as an intelligent man, pragmatic and dynamic, but quite cold and calculating. . We may regret the lack of proximity to the mass of retreating grunts, but as the title indicates, the scenario is above all centered on Napoleon and the small handful of men and women who surround him. Everything takes place in a very Racinian atmosphere practically respecting the uniqueness of time, place and action so that the spectator can concentrate on the fatal face to face between the greatest sovereign of Europe and Death.
Finally, and as usual, we would advise Editions Grand Angle to end their comics with a small historical file as it did before.
- The Old Mustaches
Screenplay: Patrice Ordas
Drawing: Xavier Delaporte
Editions: Wide Angle