Miss Don’t Touch Me v. 2
Written & Colored by Hubert
Illustrated by Kerascoët
English translation by Joe Johnson
Lettering by Ortho
Published by NBM
After the startling success of the first Miss Don’t Touch Me book, the creators are back with a sequel. There’s not much you need to know to jump right into this book. Our heroine Blanche is a virgin prostitute (for various reasons covered in the first book), and she’s a very popular dominatrix at the pleasure palace known as Pompadour. She has a (very) few allies and a few (more) enemies there.
While the first book operated as a twisted murder mystery, v. 2 serves readers a more emotionally damaging story. Blanche finds her Prince Charming, a dashing and kind young man named Antoine who is devoted to her and, she hopes, will rescue her from the debts that bind her to the Pompadour. Her shiftless mother, a shyster born, also chooses this moment to reinsert herself into Blanche’s life, and though Blanche is suspicious, she can’t quite stop herself from trusting her own mother.
Of course, Antoine and Mommy each have their own secrets. The book’s strength lies in Hubert’s ability to weave together a large cast, giving each character plenty of page time and fully exploring their relationship with Blanche. From Antoine’s disapproving mother to Blanche’s mother’s grifting boyfriend, few characters have Blanche’s best interests at heart, and Hubert balances her hope to escape the Pompadour against her cautious, reserved nature.
Hubert’s good ear for dialogue and fast-moving scenes keep the pace quick, while each page gives readers nearly a dozen panels of information and characterization. There’s no obvious genre hook here – it’s simply good writing, a story about a girl’s dream to find a better life and the unfortunate slings and stones that hold her back. The character work is strong, the plot interesting and involved without being convoluted.
Kerascoët’s strong character designs and detailed artwork capture the atmosphere of early Twentieth Century France, from bustling Paris to idyllic pastoral settings. The character acting is superb, and the clear, simple grid layouts move the story forward precisely.
Miss Don’t Touch Me v. 2 stands out as worthy successor to the original, which was, in turn, among 2008’s best comics. Hubert and Kerascoët have crafted an oddly funny, yet very dramatic period piece thriller, quite unlike anything else in comics today. They’ve clearly established themselves as a creative team worth following to any project they pursue.