This used to be my favorite comic book series. Some episodes I have read 20 times or more.

Some episodes used to have a plot, an exciting story to tell. The characters used to be sort of interesting.

In this latest episode centered around the historical battle of the Crater the reader gets treated to none of that.

In fact, only the pictures are nicely done. The dialogues are entirely uninspired. This is the work of a scenario writer who didn’t feel like it anymore.

The plot is non-existing. This story would be the same if you leave out its two heroes: sergeant Chesterfield and corporal Blutch.

There are a lot of historical inaccuracies. So many in fact that the author decided to indicate the few times that something is historically accurate and even at those times there are mistakes.

For the first time ever I’ve even spotted a very obvious grammatical error. This tells me that the editing sucked.

Well, this is a fictional story, you could say. Sure, but there is no story. Without the historical context there is no story whatsoever.

Grant is besieging Lee at Petersburg.

Grant’s men dig a tunnel under the lines of Lee and blow up a portion of his lines.

Grant’s men attack but get stuck in the crater they have created.

The attack fails.

One of the reasons it failed is because the local commanders were incompetent and also because of racism.

That’s pretty much what you get here as well, except with a ton of historical inaccuracies. There is no benefit of having Blutch and Chesterfield on the scenes, not even for the most die hard fans.

The dialogues are repetitive. Even one of the characters gets sick of them. There are no funny moments. The ‘joke’ is that Blutch wants to hit a superior on almost every page and Chesterfield stops him every time. That’s it. That’s supposed to make it funny.

You can’t sink into this story and be taken to a different world. Which is what a good story should do.

It seems the author wanted to educate his audience about racism during the war. Basically, look, the south kept slaves, but the north was racist too and only freed them to hurt the south.

Ok, there is a bit of truth to it, but it’s a huge oversimplification.

Even as a pedagogical tool it’s not worth much.

It even makes me wonder if this series has always been bad. Maybe as a child I was easily enamored by the series because I loved reading about the American Civil War so much.

For those unfamiliar with the series this is a best-selling series in France and Belgium. Yes, mostly set against the background of the American Civil War.