Review – Merlin – The Initiatory Cycle (Jean -Luc Istin and Eric Lambert): A beginning of an epic saga

We like it

– A great mix of Arthurian mythology, Celtic mythology, Breton myths, Little People creatures and magic!
– A charismatic hero who changes and continues to attract, despite a different adaptation about him.
– Secondary characters with more attractive and interesting messages.
– A rich and delicious piece of history.

We don’t like it

– Drawings are not always the same quality.

You have to know Merlin: the enchanter, Arthur’s counselor, the powerful magician, Viviane’s lover … Every version, every story always presents her in a new light. Jean-Luc Istin and Eric Lambert are no exception to the rule: their Merlin is different from well-known images but remains faithful to the great man we remember. Merlin – The Initial Cycle embark on a beautiful epic adventure, inside a thriving and rich universe!

The summary

Brittany… The island of walls…
At a time when ancient traditions were disappearing to give way to the worship of One God, Ahès, a Celtic goddess, sought to curb the spread of Christianity.
To this end, he ordered the birth of a messiah of the ancient beliefs to lead the fight and forever repel the Christian invader.
Son of the spirit of the wind and virgin, will Merlin follow the paths devised for her?

Our opinion

Next Merlinwritten by Jean-Luc Istinremains one big event ! Started more than 15 years ago, the series continues to sell like hot cakes and enriched each year by the cycles of history that come to complete it. The initiatory cycle consists of the first 10 volumes : he tells us about Merlin’s birth, his quest for birth and his rise to power.

The two cycles can be read: Merlin, the search for the sword (5 volumes-completed series), tracing the course again and again Merlin’s adventures in his making of the legendary Excalibur swordand Merlin, the prophet (5 volumes-completed series), preceding the birth and the rise of Arthur Pendragon. These two cycles will soon be reviewed on the site. In the end, Merlin, Cycle 2: The Pendragon Cyclemore interested in King Arthur and in The role of Merlin’s advisor. This cycle is not yet complete, its third volume will be released in 2018.

It will be interesting to focus only on Merlin, in this remarkable figure, born of an air creature and a mortal, in the version of Jean-Luc Istin. Merlin, King Arthur’s future famous advisor or failed druid in the series Kaamelott, there is no stopping to dream. It can be found in all forms in novels, movies or comics. Here, the author gives us his own perspective. It is anchored in a Celtic universe victim of the installation of Christian doctrine, which denounces pagan rituals and obscures ancient religion, which is closer to the elements and nature.

This cycle is never moral and, through the eyes and words of one of his characters, Blaise even offered a vision of living together, of uniting knowledge, religious or not, and promoting unconditional love for humanity and faith in general. The dialogues are intelligent, open -minded and interesting. There is nothing left to chance, especially from a good observer.

The comics teach us a lot about Celtic culture, which is back in fashion, especially thanks to the collection. celtic editions Sun. Historically, nuada contains an important characteristic, this lunar god named “Airgetlam”, which means “with Silver Arm”, continues to inspire epic heroes and strong minds in modern fantasy sagas. Numerous references also mention Lug, a major god of light, whose legendary spear ended in darkness.

The Arthurian legend should not be defeated by the many references to the island of Avalon.the central bastion of this cycle, where the priests of the ancient cult lived. Breton myths are also involvedespecially the goddess Ahès, daughter of King Gradlon of the noble city ​​of Ys, a city like Minas Tirith in The Lord of the rings. The tomes are also full of small creatures and small creatures, more commonly collected under the term Small People. An explosive and well -worked mix, which will delight the curious but also fans of stories and tales of all kinds.

The story turned out to be fun to follow, we never got tired. Merlin will grow, develop and grow stronger. Its complexity and versatility, believable and uniform, give strength to the character. Blaise, his teacher and true philosophermaintains a conflicting relationship with the young man, especially when the latter, who is still a teenager, is still looking for himself. Merlin’s mother, Maëllea mysterious young woman, raised by Christian morals and ashamed of being born out of wedlock, contrary to Blaise’s more open -minded, but fascinated by its evolution. Slowly and in the course of the story, her attitude changes: the young woman becomes stronger, more confident in herself and her beliefs. We even saw him fight and defend his life very hard, while holding a weapon seemed impossible for him.

Ahès, symbolic nature of this cycleis a riot god, lived by vengeance. His desire to overthrow the newborn religion and seize power identified him as the villain in the story, cannot be denied. However, some volumes are more interested in him and in his past, it shows him to us in another light. The reader will then feel divided, and this is what makes this story an interesting epic. Ahès remains both horribly cruel and horrible, he represents evil with enthusiasm and confidence.

The second, charismatic characters, especially the priests of Avalon or the Romanized warlords, intrigue us in their turn. In addition to the Celtic world, history is also of interest in the last moments of the Roman Empire which was only dwindling. The links between the ancient religion and the Christian religion remain subtle, the author plays on it deceptively. Thus, the priest’s attitude of rejecting everything related to the pagans did not show himself to be that Manichean: he did not remain firm in his beliefs and end up understanding what he was trying to say to the world. him.

The battle scenes are many and beautiful. The boards highlight these fights and are constantly expanded on a double page. The drawings are decorated with volumes and become sharper and more precise. The colors pleased us and the Avalon or Ys designs were so beautiful.

Merlin – The Initial Cycle contains a magical reading that makes us travel within the Arthurian legend we love so much, once again revisited with love and original points of view. The revelations follow each other at a good pace, the sub-plots all hold, the political and religious dialogues are of quality, and Merlin’s adventures are as complex as they are exciting. A pleasure to read and escape!

To the publisher

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