Exploring the Mind-Bending Sci-Fi Universe of Vertigéo: A Review from a Dune Enthusiast in France

Culture news From the Dune expert in France, this sci-fi universe will make you dizzy. I read Vertigéo and it’s a big YES!

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France and science fiction… a love story that has lasted for almost two centuries. From the mid-19th century, French authors explored this genre which became omnipresent in popular culture. Times have changed, the flowers have wilted, but the general public's appetite for these stories born from minds in turmoil remains the same. If our country is no longer the master of the genre in 2024, it still knows how to revolt against North American hegemony. This year, a local comic strip will make you dizzy.

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Everything you need to know about the Vertigéo comic strip

Vertigeo is a French science fiction comic book published by Casterman and published on May 15, 2024. Now that the official presentations are made, it's time to get to the heart of the matter. This comic is the result of a collaboration between three creative minds who pooled their love of SF and their respective talents as authors and/or illustrators to design a “paper” work which places humanity face to face with its own extinction and even more its own madness.

We find in the scenario the feathers ofEmmanuel Delportea French-speaking novelist having cut his teeth on various novels and short stories in the past, and Lloyd Chery, a lover of science fiction who made it his profession. In 2024, he is the deputy editor-in-chief of the legendary magazine Métal Hurlant and is considered one of the experts on Dune in France after the publication of his book Tout sur Dune. He also runs a podcast focused on his favorite subject, simply called “It’s more than SF”. Finally, the visuals are provided by Amaury Bundgenan artist behind the comics Ion Mud and Le Rite.

A cataclysm. More sun. More life. Humanity is on the verge of extinction. The last men plant the foundations of the first tower on the charred ground. Thus begins the push. Centuries have passed and the towers still grow skyward, consuming men and materials at a breakneck pace. But when an engineer on the run crosses paths with a tired foreman, everything changes. This man's beliefs explode and he now has only one goal: to discover the terrible truth about Vertigeo. – Casterman

See the Vertigéo comic strip on FNAC


A vertigo “Made in France”

I must, before anything else, tell you a secret. I'm a comic book fan, but by no means a scholar of the medium. From a very young age, I started leafing through albums of the adventures of Tintin and Asterix before naturally turning to Japan and the United States with mangas and comic books. I of course set foot on the French territories of the 9th Art afterwards, especially those of science fiction, and fell head over heels for some of the most iconic comics of the genre. including The Incal, The Caste of the Meta-Barons and the Nikopol trilogy. It is therefore with undisguised pleasure that I look into Vertigéo in 2024.

From the Dune expert in France, this sci-fi universe will make you dizzy. I read Vertigéo and it’s a big YES!

The initial premise of this comic echoes (and this is intentional) the mythological Tower of Babel which rubs shoulders with the heavens in the Book of Genesis, and also many works of science fiction, but not only. Vertigéo draws on the myths of men as well as its most beautiful contemporary creations to depict a society governed by a concept as powerful as it is alienating. The thrust here is the driving force of the story. But above all, it recalls in this desire to progress at all costs the pedestrian epic of the novel La Horde du Contrevent by Alain Damasio – a masterpiece of contemporary fiction – and the railway epic of the comic strip Le Transperceneige.

Vertigéo also has the advantage of being self-sufficient and telling a complete story. This comic is therefore a “one shot”. This may be anecdotal for you, but I find it refreshing to discover a universe, then leave it with no other promise than that of having an excellent time turning each page until the epilogue. The work of Emmanuel Delporte, Lloyd Chéri and Amaury Bündgen remains no less profound and carries meaningful themes. Vertigéo is nothing more and nothing less than a dizzying metaphor for the enslavement of the masses.

From the Dune expert in France, this sci-fi universe will make you dizzy. I read Vertigéo and it’s a big YES!

The visuals greatly contribute to making Vertigéo a unique work on the general public 9th Art market. It is (too) rare to do without color in this era of computer-assisted creations. Furthermore, these 50 shades of gray make sense in this case as this black and white gives this comic an anxiety-inducing atmosphere of which the authors of Le Transperceneige would not be a little proud (Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette). The illustrator also draws on a collective imagination nourished by popular culture to depict this tower which defies nature itself. From Matrix to Soleil Vert via Blame… the Vertigéo building rests on solid foundations.

Verigéo is a little gem to discover without further delay. Comic book fans and other science fiction addicts cannot afford to miss this encounter with the 9th Art.


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