If I say I was absolutely delighted with this first volume, perhaps that doesn't mean much, but I did find what I enjoy most in certain super hero comics, and also in many novels and other graphic books. There's just one thing I'm looking forward to - reading the second and the third...
                                                                                                                            Librairie Critic



An unusual and very ambitious series in the French graphic book genre, whose sequel we are looking forward to.
                                                                                          Mikaël Demets,, August 2009



In short, this first volume of the Brigade chimérique can be devoured in one go, and then reread immediately to find references and illusions which escaped our notice the first time. Starting with an original premise it has a very precisely dissected scenario and is packed with references that are in themselves treasure hunts. Indeed, the work is a complete pleasure to read, which can be explored in greater depth by visiting the web site set up for the occasion.



It is impossible not to liken this story to the works of Alan Moore, like Watchmen or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Not bad as compliments go...



The authors know indisputably how to get us hooked, in the style of the best serial writers, and conclude each episode on a classic cliffhanger. Full marks to them.
We are confident that the authors will give us something to enjoy in the following episodes, judging from the standard of this first volume.
                                                                                                                     Le cafard cosmique






Take a measure of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a measure of BPRD [Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, a comic book by Mike Mignola], a slug of a twenties/thirties serial and a pinch of surrealism... Serve up as a pseudo-real comic book by two big shots of the French fantasy genre on a base of political fiction with a quite a hint of Uchronia. Unlikely? No, chimeric. Lehman and Colin, who like to test the limits of the graphic book genre in what is still their preferred  domain: the science fiction narrative, bring their own slant to a tale of super heroes.

The two men anchor their universe in the traumatic imagination of the interwar period. Their premise? Prohibited weapons and nascent technology - gas, radium, X-rays, - have given birth to a generation of supermen whose brief was to change the very course of history. The first European super-heroes...


The authors construct their mythology by drawing on legends from the trenches, and also using a literary universe that is dear to them. Leo Saint-Clair, alias "The Nyctalope", by Jean de la Hire, a contemporary of Judex or Fantômas, thus becomes a blasé politician controlling Paris. Colin and Lehman aren't afraid of letting him meet literary figures such as Harry Dickson (Jean Ray), Tom Carnacki (William H. Hodgson), Félifax (Paul Féval Jr), Doc Savage (Lester Dent & Co), The Shadow (Walter B. Gibson), Andrew Gibberne alias The Accelerator (son of a character created by H.G. Wells), Doctor Mabuse (Norbert Jacques). Not to mention Marcel Aymé's Garou-Garou, "Passe-murailles (the man who could walk through walls)", or even Gregor Samsan, the central character in Kafka's Metamorphosis!

The action of the Brigade chimérique  is fortunately not just limited to a simple catalogue of names, even as a form of homage. The authors engage in a complex exercise of political fiction, using the world situation in 1938 as an outline: the rise of Nazism with the ambiguity of the French position, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the structuring of the Soviet Union... The founding figure of the title is moreover not a character from a novel but a historical figure from scientific research: Marie Curie. A Marie Curie acting as a demiurge, the founder of an Institute of Radium that is implicated in everything the world considers as unexplained phenomena. A Marie Curie who dies taking many secrets with her, notably that of the illustrious "Chimeric Brigade".


The narrative follows the actions of her daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, a scientist and a communist sympathiser, who is working to throw light on the shadowy areas of her mother's work. And at the same time it tracks George Spad, a mysterious young woman from the surrealist movement. She is a writer who explores this fine world intending to establish a biography of the Nyctalope. One of Louis Querelle's forthcoming titles...


What Gess brings to the work is primordial. The narrative is complemented by a composition and mise-en-scene straight out of pulp fiction. The illustrator from Nantes seems to have had real fun in the creation of this stylistically Steampunk vintage title. The way he uses old-time heroes, his approach to artistic movements and to the décor and costumes, and even with the architecture of a Metropolis - like Mabuse - straight out of a Fritz Lang film, bear witness to considerable documentary research. Yet this mass of graphic references in no way stifles the narrative. This is a work created to resemble a pulp fiction comic, whose old-fashioned allure in no way obscures the modern feel. The covers of the instalments are superb and quite exemplary.


To be followed. Closely.                                  
                                                                   Philippe BELHACHE,, August 2009

Published at October 12, 2009