|nezchan (nezchan) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2009-07-05 12:43:00
|Entry tags:||char: spirou, creator: janry, creator: philippe tome, publisher: dupuis|
Spirou: Machine Qui Reve
Machine Qui Reve is a bit of an odd book in the Spirou series, and certainly the most controversial. Not so much because of its subject matter, but becaus it was so dramatically different from the other books in the series, even the ones by the same artistic team. From what I can gather, Tome & Janry wanted to modernize the classic character, and bet the farm on this book. As sales ended up not being great, it was a failed gamble in a way, but it did get a lot of people thinking about what the essence of Spirou really was.
The story does certainly have faults. The art and tone are quite bleak, and a bit jarring when compared to what had gone before. As well, the story is a bit short to do more than a casual treatment of the underlying issues of bioethics and identity. For all of it though, the book remains one of my favourites.
The story starts with Spirou and Fantasio (pink shirt, so cute!), at what seems to be Fantasio's apartment. Odd, considering in the other books they share a house, but nevermind. They've just finished watching a movie about a man on the run, and Fantasio is getting ready to go on vacation, leaving Spirou the keys, when Seccotine, a fellow reporter and sometimes rival, calls asking for Fantasio's help.
It turns out Seccotine (who for some reason is now calling herself Sophie, although it's never come up before or since, far as I know) needs someone to infiltrate a laboratory for her. She suspects there's something fishy going on behind the scenes, but they only accept males as "voluntary test subjects". So since Fantasio left for his vacation after all, then Spirou will do nicely. On the way they're stopped by a police officer who turns out to be a fan of Spirou's, and Spirou gets a thank-you kiss, which doesn't really seem to have much impact on him.
Entering the lab turns out to be a simple matter, and he is led in by one of the assistants, Jenny Simmonds. She tries subtly to warn him, but it turns out to be too late.
The very next page, things suddenly take a turn for the unexpected.
Not knowing how he got there, Spirou heads home to find armed men waiting for him. But Spirou, no stranger to having guns aimed at him, manages to escape.
Best use of a garden gnome as a weapon since Half Life 2 ep 2, by the way.
Trying Seccotine's place, Spirou gets a similar welcome, and ends up on the run once more, although he does have a flashback of being accosted by men in hazard suits and injected with something by Ms. Simmons. So he tries her place, only to find the opposition has grown to something more than a bunch of simple thugs.
Now a wanted man, with even the cop who was his fan attempting to shoot him, he returns to the labratory where it all started, spurred on by odd flashbacks. As he enters the labs, SWAT teams assemble outside to finally take care of him. But one of the police is more than he seems...
Cop Spirou reveals that, in fact, the Spirou we've been following was a clone of the original, or in his terms "a machine that dreams of life". The shady business of the lab involved extracting DNA from test subjects, then duplicating them for some poorly explained reason (I've been through the volume lots of times, and I still don't really get why they're cloning people). Clone Spirou escaped, being based on one of the most resourceful men in the world, and the researchers felt it was their right to kill him, on grounds of protecting the public from an experiment gone wrong. Seccotine/Sophie arrives and takes the clone away, as Spirou uses dynamite he'd smuggled in to destroy the lab.
The scientist in charge of the lab, Dr. Birth, is outraged at all this, claiming Spirou is standing in the way of progress, but is cut short by Ms. Simmons who turns out to be an undercover police officer who'd been monitoring the lab for some time. And as to the clone?
Clone Spirou, somewhere in the Gulf of Oman, is still trying to sort out his identity. But Seccotine/Sophie says she'll stay with him, giving a bit of hope for the future.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Clone Saga should be told.
Standard Disclaimer: My understanding of French is a bit crude, so I would appreciate any corrections on my reading of the story, particularly the rationale behind making the clones.