Comic Review: The Reprieve (IDW)

The Reprieve, from EuroComics, an imprint of IDW, is a translation of Jean-Pierre Gibrat’s original 2010 French title, Le Sursis. It’s a story of World War II France, during the […]

The Reprieve, from EuroComics, an imprint of IDW, is a translation of Jean-Pierre Gibrat’s original 2010 French title, Le Sursis.

It’s a story of World War II France, during the German occupation in 1943. Young soldier Julien Sarlat deserts the French Army and returns to his hometown. He’s helped by a relative, who finds him a place to hide. While in hiding there from the authorities, he has time to reflect on his life, the lives of the villagers, and his longing for a village girl, Cecile. There is time for drama, betrayal, love, and perhaps a reprieve??

The story is translated from the French version into English by Diana Shutz and Brandon Kander. The story flows smoothly for the most part. However, at times, the translation seems to ‘ring wrong’, or be jarring. Some of the phrases seem to be too American, or too modern for 1943, and unlikely to have been said by a Frenchman living in France during World War Two.

The drawings are exquisite. Each panel is thoughtfully composed, and almost ‘poetically’ rendered; a touch of colour here, some shadows there. The figures are nicely rendered, faces, clothing carefully researched and accurately portrayed.

If you are a patient reader and are looking for a very French story, both culturally and in terms of rhythm, please consider this book. It’s beautifully done and a real treat to read in ‘graphic novel’ format.

As bonus content, there are full-page illustrations, roughs and character drawings included.

IDW EuroComics, The Reprieve, $29.99 for 132 pages, 17+

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!