Graphic Content – The Nikopol Trilogy

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
76/501Title: The Nikopol Trilogy
Enki Bilal
Year: 1982-1992
Country: France

Wow, so since coming back from Hong Kong I’ve been neglecting doing stuff for the blog as – being December and all – I’ve found myself uncommonly busy and am also focusing on my end of decade posts (like this film one). Also my back is still playing up two weeks later and I am not having. Still there’s commuting time, which means I can squeeze in a comic or three.

The Nikopol Trilogy is, as the title suggests, a series of three graphic novels written by Enki Bilal set in a dystopian future after nuclear war and the rise of many a totalitarian regime. The fact that it’s only set a few years away in 2023 is actually pretty grim, but at least we have yet to see the Egyptian gods come back in a pyramid shaped space ship that is without fuel and trapped hovering over Paris.

I think that my experience with this trio of graphic novels can be summarised as: great visuals, disappointing story. Give the setting and Bilal’s gorgeous art style, I guess that my expectations for the story was fairly high – especially as he really delivered with an interesting narrative in the first of the three.

Thing is, it just felt that after completing the first graphic novel in the trilogy, that he started to lose a bit of interest in making a story that was fully developed – instead going for a light touch on a number of interesting ideas. The side effect of this lack of depth is that the final graphic novel lacks a bit of coherency and feels like it was written with the philosophical understanding of a 14 year old. Such a pity as it started off so well and are all exceedingly pleasing to look at.

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