I've been holding off a review for CHAOS for sometime, anxiously awaiting the release of new translated editions of the earlier books in Philippe Druillet's LONE SLOANE series, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen anytime soon - so I'm not going to hold my breathe any longer. There's enough distance between CHAOS and the previous volumes that it doesn't really matter to enjoy the book. All you need to know is that the good guy is the titular Lone Sloane (who's been dead for ten years) and the bad guy is the Filthy Beast Emperor Shaan (who dearly misses his adversary) and the battlefield is the planet Kazhann (home to more disgusting filthy beasts).
But it doesn't matter. The book could be about the production of pasteurized cheese and I'd still be all over it. That's just the way it is with a Druillet book - you don't actually read the thing the first time through - you simply flip the pages, scratching your head at the kinetically-charged panel bleeds and page compositions. It's like Walt Simonson got loaded while listening to seventies rock opera and drew until his fingers bled all over the pages. Sci-fi lunacy at it's purest.
Twenty, thirty years ago, Druillet was as close as you could come to being a comics rock star this side of Moebius, which isn't surprising since they were both instrumental in the creation of the original Metal Hurlant magazine with Jean-Pierre Dionnet. In addition to the LONE SLOANE series, Druillet created La Nuit - an account of his wife's battle with cancer imagined as a sci-fi fantasy epic and possibly the strangest graphic novel to come out of Europe during his time. Most of his recent projects have been in film and television, so CHAOS is a welcome return to his comic roots.
Now if someone would just crank out the other English language editions, we'd really be onto something here.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.