The Adventures of Blake & Mortimer, 24
The Testament of William S.
By Yves Sente (script) & André Juillard (artwork)
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Adventures of Blake & Mortimer and commemorating 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, the best writer/artist duo that has worked on the B&M series (Yves Sente & Andre Juillard) produced “The Testament of William S” – a gripping, multi-layered thriller that takes place in London and Venice (as well as a few other cities), in 1958 and in the 16th century. They touch upon the rivalry between Stratfordians and Oxfordians regarding the authorship of Shakespeare’s works, give us a short history of his life and put forward a bold theory that is unveiled slowly with jaw-dropping effect, the reader being able to solve riddles and put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle during the course of events. That central plot line is underpinned by an Agatha Christie-type ‘whodunnit’, a typical Blake & Mortimer race against the clock (notably on board the Orient Express) and some intense Freudian drama regarding Mortimer’s relationship with his old sweetheart Sarah Summertown and her daughter Elizabeth, all taking place in a repressive atmosphere of late 1950s gang violence – perpetrated by upper-class youth – reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange and foreboding subsequent social breakdown and urban anomy that continues to this day. Easily one of the best books in the series. I have selected a few of my favourite panels (without giving too much away) and a couple of links.