By Jean-David Morvan, Nesmo, Lindsay Marie King
“You’re now free to choose your door. The first is an exit. It will lead you out and back to the world you know. The other is an entrance…”
This story is big, this story is imaginative, this story is one you have to read. Captain Mornieres isn’t living the best life, well, unless he’s at work and deep into a case. At home, life seems to be falling into shambles, but at work he is able to shine as a police investigator. What caused him to get into the profession in the first place though? Is it just a job to him, or a calling with a larger meaning behind it?
In the story Bramble: Oversized Deluxe Edition by Jean-David Morvan (and translated by Lindsay Marie King) we’re first cast off into the woods with a rather large man sitting in a tree enjoying the good life, but what’s that in the distance? A city! So the big lug heads to the bright lights and that’s where the story really starts to take off. This story starts off really imaginative and gets you wondering who this man from the woods could possibly be, but as you keep reading the imagination factor grows and grows…
Captain Mornieres ends up investigating a mass murder having taken place on a train – who did it? Has living in the woods had any effect on this big stranger? Morvan’s story takes a fantasy type twist whenever we’re shown how the big guy from the woods views this new world. In the city nothing looks as it did in the forest, the world is foreign and terrifying. This is something artist Nesmo has a lot of fun with throughout the story. We’re given crazy visuals and highly detailed looks at how normal people look to the big stranger. You might have a nice haircut and new pants on, but to him you probably have tentacles coming out of your eyes and a streetlight sticking out your forehead (Sound awesome? Yeah…it is). But something you realize throughout the story is why he sees things this way, and how people appear to him changes how he will react.
Running with the idea of forest/city is where some of Nesmo’s play with the art is really apparent. When we’re first shown the forest it’s lush, green, blue skies, and we see the city off in the distance almost looking as if it’s on fire. Soon the large man starts heading towards the city, and when he finally reaches it the place looks packed, and everything is soaked in red and brown colors and smoke lingers around everything– this shows the difference in setting off nicely. The city is overrun with machines – even the cashier at the convenience store is a robot – and so this comparison to the nature aspect of the story builds on the underlying struggle and notion this story is pushing forward – is nature being overtaken by humanity? What happens if it fights back?
This story brings up an abstract view of society vs. nature and is able to pull it off it a big way – with plenty of imagination. There’s a transformation in the main character (Captain Mornieres) that is great to see and explore. The city is filled with fascinating machines, some even resembling creatures and titans as tall as buildings. A great page by Nesmo features Morneires on the outside of his apartment building on a balcony, the air is thick and colorful as overhead a large mechanical looking blimp floats by, and on the left side of the page a massive mechanical beast walks past. This is the world nature is trying to take back before it’s too late. This is the world we’re heading towards with each advancement in technology.
Jean-David Morvan and Nesmo have together crafted an imaginative tale, which certainly takes a dark turn rather quickly, but as the story progresses we see why certain acts have to happen, and what the real battle is that’s taking place. There are two worlds being depicted in this story, one of nature and one of technology/society, but which one will prevail? And whose side are you on?