Graphic Novel Review: Aster of Pan by Merwan
Posted on October 13, 2020 at 7:00 am by Gene Ambaum
Aster of Pan Volume 1 by Merwan. Translation: M.B. Valente. Originally published by Dargaud, 2019. 9781942367949 (the 2021 English translation). 200pp. Info at http://www.europecomics.com/album/aster-pan-v1/ though it looks like the digital versions have been pulled from the US market because a print edition by Magnetic Press is coming in Nov. 2020. That book will contains this and Volume 2.
February, 2068, Fontainebleau Forest. Aster lives alone in a treehouse, surviving on what she can scavenge from the ruins of Paris and trade for in Pan, the farm town where her book-loving friend Wallis lives. Aster is all big gestures and toughness, though it’s clear she wants a family and longs to be a citizen of Pan. There’s a bear, a pirate attack, and a bit of politics before an “ambassador” arrives with tech and soldiers from the Republic of Fortuna, announcing that Pan will soon have the honor of joining their federation. The leaders of Pan aren’t happy, but they have little choice. But then they ask for arbitration by celestial mechanics. (No one even knows what that means.) But then someone arrives in Pan who starts training them for the game they’ll have to play. It’s more than a little ridiculous, but also serious, and of course they need Aster to completes their team (even though she’s un-Pan).
The story has the perfect amount of fun for its post-apocalyptic setting, and I really loved Merwan’s drawings. Their fluidity reminds me of the best of Connor Willumsen’s, though there’s also a bit of a manga influence in the body language and facial expressions, and it’s perfect colors hold the words and art together.
Assuming Volume 2 is as good, the forthcoming book would be a great graphic novel for any YA or adult collection.