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Grandville Bete Noire by Bryan Talbot

Grandville Bete Noire (edition 2012)

by Bryan Talbot, Bryan Talbot (Illustrator)

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626191,731 (3.89)9
Title:Grandville Bete Noire
Authors:Bryan Talbot (Author)
Other authors:Bryan Talbot (Illustrator)
Info:Dark Horse (2012), Hardcover, 104 pages
Collections:Review Copies, Ebook
Tags:arc, netgalley, ebook, graphic novel, animal fantasy, noir, mystery, read2012

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Grandville Bete Noire by Bryan Talbot


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Grandville Bête Noire is the strongest Grandville story yet. Unlike the first two, Talbot isn't just playing with pulp tropes, but is taking much more from his personal interests to enhance the world-building and lore. His personal interest in art history (and art history conspiracies!) means it feels like Talbot's pouring a lot more heart into this story. There's also a big helping of warm humor to fill in the LeBrock & Co.'s sometimes-boring archetypal boots with real character. (See LeBrock's overwhelming and adorable discomfort at a formal dinner. The fact that I can attribute a word like 'adorable' to this heaping mass of muscle and testosterone is a good sign.)

Billie returns from Mon Amour as LeBrock's love interest. As with the other leading characters, a portion of the plot is spent individualizing her. I was really bored with her in the last book, where she's only differentiated from the first book's uninteresting love interest by name, so it was great to see her be her own character here.

The prologue's a little on-the-nose with its devious plotting: "Free schools and hospitals? The very idea! Education and health are not a natural right! They're a privilege that should be paid for! is how much of the dialogue reads for the 10 pages we spend with this volume's conniving, bloodthirsty aristocrats. While the villains are totally over-the-top, they don't boss their way around that much of the plot--and they're treated with so much more humor this time round.

For this round's conspiracy, Aristotle Krapaud--or Mr. Toad from the Wind in the Willows--and is using a cabal of aristocrats and naive scientists to enact a military coup by mechanical means. With an army of automatons and quirky henchmen a la James Bond, Toad is attempting to control all of society by filling museums and pop culture with abstract expressionism. Another means of making the masses docile, apparently. Where-as Mon Amour never lets up from its gore and testosterone, Bête Noire revels in having fun with itself, which is exactly what I want from this series.

May we never forget Bubbles, our favorite lap-frog. RIP B-Bubbles. ( )
  rickyrickyricky | Nov 15, 2015 |
I read this for the Hugo ballot voting but I definitely want to find the previous volumes and read them. An alt universe with anthropomorphic animals and humans where the humans are second class citizens. The Victorian steampunk setting is fully developed and used throughout the book. LeBrock and his assistant go over to Paris to help with a murder investigation of an artist. I think what I liked the best was the afterword where the writer explained how a piece of history set this graphic novel in motion.
( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
An excellent pulpy steampunk furry mystery graphic novel. That's a lot of adjectives, but all accurate...the hero is Detective-Inspector Lebrock of Scotland Yard, who happens to be an anthropomorphic badger in a society of anthropomorphic animals (and an underclass of 'doughfaces' who call themselves the odd name of 'human'). Automatons doing work, and attacking on order; several unexplained murders; and excellent artwork illustrating a story with surprising depth (for one that is so strongly genre(s)), particularly around social status. The introduction says Lebrock is supposed to be Bond-like - but I can't think of any Bond who would have spit out his soup with surprise when it was stone-cold (it was gazpacho, which he'd apparently never encountered...). More the old pulp mysteries, especially with the very British Detective-Inspector and his slightly more worldly but just as British sergeant - though the villain is quite like any of Bond's, and the murder methods are interestingly steampunky. Fun, and I'm looking for more Lebrock stories. I got this as an ebook in the 2013 Hugos packet. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jul 31, 2013 |

another in Talbot's alternate history of Grandville, where most people are anthropomorphised animals and England is only now recovering from two hundred years of French rule after defeat at Waterloo. As well as taking us to the dark heart of political conspiracy, with overtones of Tintin (and also, frankly, Dangermouse), Talbot reflects art history too in his distorted gaze; he refers in an afterword to the CIA's funding of Abstract Expressionism. It's a witty, absurd and also rather bleak story. ( )
  nwhyte | May 24, 2013 |
This is the 3rd in this steampunk crime graphic novel series featuring anthropomorphic animals. Scotland Yard's DI LeBrock and DS Roderick Ratzi again find themselves in a Paris, France run by Emperor Napoleon XII (Britain lost the Napoleonic War and has become part of the French Empire). There's a cabal of rich industrialists (run out of Toad Hall) plotting to overthrow the government using powerful, deadly automatons. There's also a clash between traditional figurative artists (for whom a friend/lover of LeBrock's models) vs. new wave ones.

Talbot's illustrations are luscious and the story is again a good one - rich colours, wonderful details, and plenty of allusions/nods to Sherlock Holmes, Bertie Wooster, Wind in the Willows, and more.

Fun & quirky background details include crowd scenes with other comics characters (some I could identify, but am sure I missed others), visual and written take-offs on artists at the time, and more.

At the end, Talbot provides some interesting historical context as well. Fantastic continuation of a wonderful series. ( )
  ljbwell | Jan 25, 2013 |
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The baffling murder of a famed Parisian artist in his locked and guarded studio takes the tenacious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard and his faithful adjunct, Detective Ratzi, into the cutthroat Grandville art scene to track the mysterious assassin. As the body count mounts and events spiral out of control, the investigation points to Toad Hall, where a cabal of industrialists and fat cats plot the overthrow of the French State by use of steam-driven automaton soldiers!… (more)

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