Talbot, Bryan

About the Author:

Bryan Talbot has written and illustrated comics for over thirty years and has worked on Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Batman, Hellblazer and Sandman.



3.6 out of 5

(5 books)


(Art by Bryan Talbot)

Set in an alternate world where France won the Napoleonic Wars and a recently independent Britain stands alone in uneasy peace with the French Empire, society is peopled by anthropomorphic animals and human 'doughfaces' are an ignored subclass.  Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard begins investigating the mysterious murder of a British diplomat and his investigation leads him to the greatest city in the world and heart of the French Empire; Paris AKA Grandville.

First off for anyone wary of the anthropomorphic animals element (as, admittedly, I was at first), rest assured that this is very much an adult graphic novel and, apart from occasionally adding a little bit of humour ("Badgers?  We don't need no steenkin' badgers!"), the animal element doesn't detract from that.

This is a fun mix up of steampunk, Sherlock Holmes, Tintin, a dash of Tarantino and, interestingly, some real-world issues.  The latter is tackled through a very obvious analogue of the 9/11 terrorist attack and explores something of the way that the American government exploited it to their own ends (personally, I don't believe the conspiracy theories that they were actually behind it, but you can believe what you like).

A fun, interesting, beautifully illustrated start to the series.  I look forward to reading the next one; 'Grandville Mon Amour'.

4 out of 5


Grandville Bete Noire

(Art by Bryan Talbot)

Book three.  Here adventuring detective LeBrock and his partner Ratzi are called back to Paris by Chief Inspector Rocher to help him solve a locked-room murder mystery.  What they soon uncover, with help from the fierce and independent prostitute Billie, is a plot to overthrow the government of France.

Here Talbot fully embraces LeBrock's James Bond parallels with gadgets, a seductive female sidekick and a sinister villain with a secret underground lair.  This makes for a much more action focused story than the others up to this point, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I particularly liked Billie's character.  A returning love interest from 'Grandville Mon Amour', here the relationship between her and LeBrock, each of them with their sharp edges, makes for very compelling reading.  Also, if you ever wanted to see an anthropomorphic badger woman naked, then this is the book for you...

4 out of 5


Grandville Force Majeure

(Art by Bryan Talbot)

The fifth and final book of the Grandville series.  The criminal mastermind Tiberius Koenig makes his move to gain revenge on D.I. LeBrock, framing the badger for murder and putting him on the run from his former colleagues at Scotland Yard.  LeBrock has to work to clear his name, protect those he loves and turn the tables on Koenig.

The hero becoming a villified fugitive is not a new idea, but Talbot does it well here and instills in the story just enough of that essential feeling of 'How is he going to get out of this one?'.  There are two other important elements that make this book a satisfying conclusion to the series.  The first is that we finally learn more about how the working class copper LeBrock rose through the ranks and where he learned his expert detective skills.  The second is the villain of the piece.  Koenig is every bit the powerful, brilliant, terrifying psychopath he needed to be in order to be a credible Moriarty to LeBrock's Holmes.  I was also surprised by just how dark the story gets when Koenig gets hold of LeBrock's beloved Billie.

The book gets a bit meta, although as with the previous volume its a bit on-the-nose, with the introduction of the writer Byron Turbot, who appropriates the detectives' stories to sell trashy novels.  One final point that has to be made (and is a tiny spoiler if you want to avoid it) is that throughout the book there's hints of a traitor in Scotland Yard and we're led to suspect D.S. Herring... who is red...

4 out of 5


Grandville Mon Amour

(Art by Bryan Talbot)

The second book of the series, set a few weeks after 'Grandville', sees Detective Inspector LeBrock go rogue in order to hunt down his recently-escaped arch-nemesis Mad Dog Mastock.  The pursuit takes the implacable badger and his partner Ratzi back to Paris once more, where the psychotic Mastock begins a murder spree among the city's prostitutes.

LeBrock continues to be an easy protagonist to get involved with, equal parts Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, and his gun-toting adventures are once again eminently readable.  We're also given a bit more detail on the steampunk alternate reality Talbot has created, this time focusing on how resistance insurgents forced the French Empire to give Britain its independence.  This allows the author explore some of the grey areas between revolutionary and terrorist.

Unfortunately, the down side to this book is that the unravelling of its mystery is made very predictable by the fact that, with a few minor changes, its more or less the same plot twist as happened in the first book.  In a story so focused on detection and investigation, having a predictable ending is a major letdown.

3 out of 5


Grandville Noel

(Art by Bryan Talbot)

Book four of the Grandville series sees Detective Inspector LeBrock returning to Paris, this time to rescue a young girl from the influence of a sinister cult led by a hypnotic unicorn.

In this volume Talbot shows us the Grandville versions of such real-world concepts as religion, biblical history, the civil rights movement and the Nazis.  What I particularly enjoyed was learning a bit more about the parallel version of Christianity here, where long-lost ancient texts risk the exposure of the possibility that not only was Christ a human, but that there was more to the bible before the god Noah landed his ark.  The downside to all this was a slightly too on-the-nose section where a professor puts for the scientific theory that there may be a parallel world where humans are the dominant species.

As for the main plot itself, it was another perfectly enjoyable outing for the implacable badger detective and was made a little different by the fact that this time LeBrock's sidekick is a liberated human from America.

3 out of 5


Science Fiction/Alternate History (here)