Written and drawn by Bryan Talbot
The Tower of London – a dog prisoner is to be executed until he makes a daring and murderous escape. Meanwhile, Detective Inspector LeBrock has not come out of his lodgings in over a week – he is still angry with himself and wallowing in self-pity because he blames himself for the death of Sarah, the woman he promised to look after but was killed (see the first Grandville story, which I liked very much). But his friend, Detective Ratzi, brings him out of his seclusion because LeBrock is needed again – the dog who escaped was Mad Dog Mastock, a murderer caught by LeBrock. Mastock was also an urban guerrilla fighter during the Resistance for the battle for British independence against the French, although he also killed innocent French citizens to do it. When LeBrock goes to his commanding officer to demand the case, LeBrock argues and then resigns when he is not given it. But that’s not going to stop LeBrock …
This story involves the history of the alternate world that Talbot has created – the British battle against the French, how LeBrock was in the resistance (the Brixton Irregulars, separate from the Mastock unit, the Angry Brigade); the Brick Lane Massacre, where head of the occupying forces General Woolf set a trap and killed all leaders of the resistance, including LeBrock’s father, except for the leader of the resistance, a bulldog called Harold Drummond, who is now Prime Minister and is about to be made the first President of the Socialist Republic of Britain. Mastock returns to Grandville (the name for Paris in this alternate world) and kills again, so LeBrock and Ratzi have to return there and find him and the truth.
As with the previous Grandville story, there are nice in-jokes – criminals in the French prison include ‘Poo’ Bear and ‘Toilet’ Duck, who looks a lot like a certain trouser-less cartoon character; Drummond says, ‘Oh yus’, just like a certain insurance advert – and the art is beautiful, with strong line work and exquisite colouring and lovely design. The story is entertaining (although I thought the ending was the weakest part, getting the villain to reveal themselves with a bluff and then getting them to do something stupid and out of character) and a lot of fun, even it isn’t ground-breaking. Talbot is an excellent storyteller, both artistically and narratively, and he maintains his usual high quality of work here.