Review: Tricaillin by Steve Galley ★★★★

Tricaillin Volume 1 by Steve GalleyContent warning for some violent and sexual content/nudity.

Tricaillin is a new graphic novel from Steve Galley, set in a post-apocalyptic society dominated by industrial overlords and torn apart by the horrors that sprung from an old war. A secret society works tirelessly for freedom, and they require help from beyond the pale to win it; meanwhile, a mysterious woman makes her way to answer the call. She must defend and assist the downtrodden and fend off the sterile tyranny of Fivecorp, all to cleanse her soul. The strange and the powerful must fight for their own ideas of order, but who will succeed, and will the victor lead mankind to ruin once again?

The writing is quite straightforward and relies on the artwork most of the time to show, not tell the situation. That said, the plot is fairly thin and there’s not a huge amount to dig into with Tricaillin. The characters involved have their basic arcs with satisfying conclusions and enough of the unexpected to keep you going, all the while told through the sharp art and penwork of Julius Abera, which does a very good job of holding the tone and giving us great, expressive panels throughout. This volume has a decent page-count to it, too, clocking in at about a hundred pages, and it feels as long as it should be; no more, no less. It passes by quite quickly, leaving its impressions and stopping where it feels most natural for the story.

The book is rated at 12+, though I’d suggest a little above that bracket as it’s a fairly mature story with art to match, though never getting too graphic, though I would admit to much of this content feeling gratuitous. I feel it worth mentioning as, unlike text-only books, violence and nudity are not left exclusively to the imagination.

Regular readers of graphic novels and comics won’t feel too out of sorts with this, though, and it doesn’t break through the norm on that front at all. I’d like to have seen some of this cut down, a bit more given to all the characters’ emotional development, and maybe I’d feel the need for another volume by the end. As it is, I was happy getting to the end of this and didn’t regret the time spent with it at all, for what little really stuck with me beyond the basics.

Tricaillin is a graphic novel of an older breed, really evoking the old, dark, slightly unabashed nature of comics that has definitely waned in the modern day. For me, it reminds me a great deal of the old Red Sonja comics, mixed with a lot of the original 90s White Wolf spin-off comics that told the stories of the supernatural and Dystopic all at once with a simple, pen-lined grit. Readers looking for a hit of that old nostalgia will do well here, and for anyone wanting a short modern fantasy graphic novel that doesn’t hold back Tricaillin is a good one to pick up as an enjoyable ride.


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