Edited by Delcourt, Sélénie offers a totally unexpected trip: you take a one-way ticket to the Moon thanks to technology worthy of Jules Vernes. Here is a magical and unique comic book in the 2021 releases.
A funny apocalypse
In the bunker of a ruined city, a robot wakes up and then automatically fulfills its mission: to check that the air is breathable. This beginning without dialogue sets up a strange atmosphere by being satisfied with the recorded comments of the human masters of this machine. However, once the message is transmitted, the tale passes seamlessly over the Moon in huge bubbles of glass. Indeed, the Earth was conquered by an alien and the survivors found refuge under this dome. They live there locked up and refuse to go out. But, when a vessel arrives on the Earth satellite, three young people, Verne, Méliès, and Sélénie, go to discover the occupants of this vessel… and their past.
As the robot Monsieur Cacochyme, guardian of the prince and protector of the city, tells Méliès a story, the reader discovers the past of the Earth. The delinquent alien, Antacyclès used his technological advance to build an empire. He seems to be achieving this through nuclear war when two intergalactic policemen, Doria and Magis, come to intercept him. They will marry earthlings and Sélénie, Méliès and Verne are their descendants. These extraterrestrial and human mestizos have talents that they do not yet know although Selenia has become the Empress of the Moon. However, this post-apocalyptic future is far from the usual depressive stories because humor is very present… and often hits the mark. These jokes are diffused in the scenario – a robot sneezes to analyze the air – in the dialogues – Maître Gims is perceived as a great poet – and in the images.
A story full of mysteries
Like the hidden face of the moon, Selenia conceals many mysteries. When the survivors left Earth the war evolved without them and the atmosphere purified but no one knows about the Moon. Why ? Some characters know more than they say, and for a very long time. The scenario also hides its themes. Selenie is possibly a metaphor for the current closure of France. Initially, the government is divided into two camps. The princess and Mr. Cacochyme refuse to come out of the bubble to protect themselves. In front of them, the young Méliès wants to come back to Earth because he feels locked up and the scientist Mr. Charpin wants to experiment. A skilful eye will be able to see, among other things as staircase decoration the iconic filmmaker’s moon or Moebius’ Arzach in a frame.
A formerly futuristic universe
With Selenie, we are not far from the science fiction of the XXIe century, but Fabrice Lebeault here, both scriptwriter and designer, appropriates old visions of the future. Already present in his previous series Horologion, we find a French science fiction from the early twentiethe century like the explicit references to Méliès and Verne for two main characters. In addition, the inhabitants call themselves the Selenites as in The Journey to the Moon. The author has a very light and round design that can make one think of Little Nemo by Winsor McCay or La Nef des Fous de Turf.
Fabrice Lebeault also shows great originality in the smallest details of this strange universe. You can travel on the moon with seahorses whose tail serves as a spring. Robots are not made of metal but have soft, white flesh. Androids building a road have no head because their face is on their stomachs. Even more successful, Monsieur cacochyme is a white robot with a crescent moon head that never loses its composure. Lunar creatures with very poetic names are both menacing and fun. The graphic notebook at the end of the volume with the artist’s comments sheds light on the creation of characters and creatures. This great graphic inventiveness is so successful that we are sad to leave this promising universe at the end of this complete story in one volume.
Selenia is a totally lunar title both literally and figuratively. This retro-futuristic story immerses the reader in the world of Jules Verne or George Méliès. The astonishing ending of the story will be a brutal but frustrating shock as the reader was only asking to continue this magnificent journey.
You can also enjoy other weird journeys by the chronicles on The Escape from CID Island and Fallen World.