Writer: Jean-Claude Mézières
Artist: Pierre Christin
Cinebook. First published March-June, 1980
SPACE NEVER APPEARED SO PEDESTRIAN as Laureline noses her spaceship through traffic toward the stars, demure in her spacesuit, leg up on her big pilot’s chair, gazing out at sublight speed with time on her hands, lazy day on the freeway. Then you see she is communicating in a mind link with Valerian somewhere else, apparently out of place and out of time in an Earth metropolis just about now, or in 1980 when the strip first appeared in French as the ninth album in a series of space adventures for the duo, who start here showing Laureline in her ordinary reality way out beyond, and Valerian feeling dopey in a new reality that for us is perfectly ordinary.
The stories of VALERIAN AND LAURELINE feature space-ranger investigators in oversize Euro-style albums, allowing time for plot development and dimensions to appreciate the art by Pierre Christin, colors by Evelyn Tran-Lé, that makes even the most ordinary scenes somehow fascinating. Mid-century Dutch illustrator Anton Pieck exemplifies this style beautifully for me, staring at a gable or a gear on a page as intently as in real life. This kind of art reminds us reality is cool. Here, the pages possesses that style instinctively. Interest is magnified by the story as we view scenes plain to us through Valerian’s alien experience.
The first Valerian and Laureline stories appeared in the 1960s in serial strips, and the story runs through the 2010s, all now translated into English. The duo started out together, but a quick glance over other titles shows they often separate and end up in Earth settings. Dividing their experiences gave this story a definite charm for me. Seeing each partner in a startlingly different reality reminded me how so much of our total experience is hardly ever all our own but built rather on our own and the other, significant others and partners and friends and colleagues, who help us through and embellish our universe.
The title on this album is better in French: Métro Châtelet, direction Cassiopée. The grace of the adventure inside makes it easy to suppose perhaps all things are better when they begin in French.
[Editor’s note: for our last review of Valerian and Laureline, see https://worldcomicbookreview.com/2017/04/22/valerian-laureline-french-comic-book-hollywood-motion-picture/ ]