I’d never read one of Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s famed Asterix books before, and figured it well past time to correct that oversight. I knew that Asterix is a famed children’s adventure series, but that’s really about all I knew going in, so I had a little hesitation, but plenty of anticipation as well.
In Asterix and the Great Divide, Asterix and his allies find themselves aiding a neighboring village that is split by two men’s claims of leadship – literally split. They’ve dug a trench through the middle of town! Schizophrenix, the only townsperson to not choose a side in the great debate, has the barrier slicing directly through the middle of his home, which adds some light slapstick when he need to cross to the kitchen or bedroom.
As the names may suggest, Asterix and the Great Divide is heavy on the silly puns, and it’s definitely a book for kids. The humor leans toward the silly, the villains are comically inept, and the art bright and clean. But it’s a very sharp book for kids. The heroes win through a combination of innate virtuosity and creative problem solving. Artistically, Uderzo’s fun designs, bright colors and slapstick pacing suit the story nicely, keeping things just as lively and upbeat during the talking sequences as during the battles.
Asterix and the Great Divide is a lark – a fun, fast-moving, twist-filled adventure. For this reader, it skews a little younger than my tastes, but I enjoyed visiting the land of Gauls and expect that I’ll be purchasing the whole series when I have children of my own. Asterix is sharp comics, and I’m glad I was able to discover it at my local library.