Review: Valerian: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

Luc Besson and his influence on the film world is vast and almost unimaginable. “Unimaginable” is probably the wrong word when talking about the prolific auteur, as his ambition for pushing boundaries, truly puts all creators on notice. As I remember the first film, I saw by him, was not a science fiction film, but one about assassins. Leon The Professional, was the movie, that blew my mind, as I expected the usually hum drum concept of hired killers that had been used and abused by the Hollywood machine.

Instead I find a complex, very well-developed action-packed narrative that challenged the notion that action movies were not for those who wanted to think. He continued to challenge all tropes of storytelling throughout all his movie, like Taken and Fifth Element. So, when I heard that he had his eyes on adapting a French space opera comic, I was truly enthralled, as I knew that he would handle it well. As for the source material, I had not heard of it, until I heard of the movie, and am sorry I had not heard of it until now, as what I found, was an epic tale about “spatio-temporal” agents, who have specific missions in different timelines and places.

Within the first few pages, a roundtable between Besson and the creators, gives the reader a first person look into its creation and its influence. In the first story, “Bad Dreams”, Valerian gets sent to 17th century France, where he falls in love with Laureline, who ends up saving his life. In the second story, “The City of Shifting Waters and Earth in Flames” Valerian and Laureline gets sent to 1986 moss and nature entrenched New York, hunting for Valerian’s nemesis, Xombul. In the last story,” The Empire of a Thousand Planets,” Valerian and Laureline, investigate what is going on in Syrte the Magnificent, the capital of Thousand Planets, to find out what really is going on and who is trying to steal power form the ruling class. When I think of the classic space operas, this book is the blueprint for books like the Expanse series derives its greatness from.

Overall, a fun book, that had me looking for more from both creators as they capture what was fun about space operas, creating the type of stories that are not only good but great science fiction stories. The stories by Pierre Christin are fun, intricate, and filled with intrigue, as he masterfully blends science fiction with political thriller. The art by Jean-Claude Mezieres is starts out simple but ends up being works of art, as I see his influence on the early artists of MAD Magazine. Altogether, an exciting compendium and important introduction to a duo of characters that will have reader sand soon, moviegoers, yearning for more.

Story: Pierre Christin Art: Jean-Claude Mezieres
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy