Review: MARGUERITE VS. THE OCCUPATION
Marguerite is a young woman living in a village in occupied France. But with allied troops on the way hope is in sight. Only a German machine gun nest stands in the way. The problem is that this emplacement has a commanding view across the valley. Worst still, it is located in the shattered ruins of Marguerite’s home.
Marguerite vs The Occupation is a tale of resistance and also a tale of anger. The author, John Luzar, who is from the United States, is clear that the story is inspired by his own rage at the Trump government and the shocking events around the invasion of the U.S Capitol in January 2021.
Despite this rather blunt analogy, the story itself is quite simple. For me, it evoked the tradition of British war comics. D.C Thomson’s Commando would be an obvious comparison, but the typical Commando story is a fair bit longer. It was closer to a short strip that might have run in Victor or Warlord. This is by no means a criticism. This book delivers a tight, engaging story.
I did feel that greater use of the French language would have helped establish the setting and the use of Americanisms like ‘mom’ was a bit grating with the closing monologue being a lot more Hollywood than history. The Germans speak only German, perhaps to establish their otherness. Fascism does not always come from the ‘other’ though. More commonly it is domestic – France had Vichy, Britain had Mosley.
Artistically Kasey Quevedo deals with the tricky task of depicting action, in the dark and in the rain, pretty successfully. The opportunities to use interesting perspectives and angles that are provided by the various towers and buildings in the book is not wasted. A sense of weight and vertigo are conveyed well and the panels depicting Marguerite leaping for the church bell are great.
The book uses a muted colour palette as you would imagine given the nocturnal setting. Laurel Dundee does an effective job especially when phosphorus flares light up the night sky.
Marguerite vs The Occupation is a quick, entertaining read with a strong anti-fascist theme. American comics have an admirable lineage of progressive but action packed tales from Lev Gleason Publications to Captain America and this book is proudly in that tradition.
The Kickstarter campaign for this book will run until 19th August 2021. It is US based but digital options are available.