Death to the Tsar

Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, trans. from the French by Allison M. Charette. Titan Comics, $24.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-78586-641-8
Despite the title, this meticulously researched graphic novel set in 1904 Moscow focuses not on the czar and his demise but on the assassination plots against one of his relatives, the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. Czar Nicholas and the rest of the Romanov dynasty are hated by the people and attacked regularly by mobs, anarchists, and assassins. Vaguely well-meaning but impossibly out of his depth, Alexandrovich is dismayed by the corruption and cruelty of the aristocracy yet powerless to do anything about it. After he accidentally triggers a massacre, it becomes obvious he’s going to die; the only question is which of his countless enemies will throw the bomb or pull the trigger. “It appears I’m going to be killed, Igor,” Alexandrovich tells a servant, bemused by his fate. “You know, because of the working class.” Artist Robin fills the pages with vibrant crowd scenes, precise historical details, and vast architectural spaces through which the tiny Alexandrovich wanders like a toy soldier winding down his course. Like the creators’ previous historical graphic novel, The Death of Stalin, which was recently adapted by IFC as a feature film, this Russian tragicomedy plays out an exciting plot against a stunningly beautiful backdrop. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 02/20/2018
Genre: Comics
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