Leonardo 2

Stéphane Levallois, trans. from the French by Joe Johnson. NBM, $29.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-68112-264-9
This intensely detailed space epic starring a future clone of Leonardo da Vinci continues a series of graphic novels commissioned by the Louvre, and is Levallois’s debut in English. He painstakingly adapts Leonardo’s original paintings and diagrams into this futuristic narrative, where the surviving members of humanity clone Leonardo from a thumbprint on a painting held in the Louvre in order to help them defeat a genocidal alien armada. The clone “Leonardo 2” goes about dissecting an alien corpse and secretly creating weapons and technology based on his wildest own ideas. An extended series of flashbacks reveal memories of the first Leonardo confessing his sins on his deathbed, including manipulating his patrons, grave robbing, and failing to understand the dangerous ramifications of his inventions. Leonardo 2 both recapitulates the original’s most selfish deeds and finds a way to redeem them. The visual achievement is striking: Levallois repurposes familiar Leonardo images like the Vitruvian Man and botanical drawings to create bizarre science-fiction elements like the alien’s mothership. But the actual plot is thin, more an excuse to explore Leonardo’s life and genius than a fully realized story. The static quality of the images also inhibits narrative flow. But comics aficionados will enjoy this experiment purely for the virtuoso quality of Levallois’ art. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/02/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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