On July 17, 1918, the Tsar, his family and his servants were summarily and ruthlessly executed in a cellar by the Bolshevik revolutionaries, thus sealing the end of the Romanov dynasty. What if one of his daughters, Grand Duchess Anastasia, survived?
Summer 1918. As the Bolshevik Revolution rages on, Tsar Nicholas II and his family are held prisoner in the city of Ipatiev in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Urals. The time for execution is near. However, hope remains in order, especially in the person of a loyalist officer who infiltrated the Reds as a carpenter. Young Colonel Volodin, desperate lover of the beautiful Anastasia, will not hesitate for a single moment to put his life on the line to extricate her from the mortal fate to which she seems doomed.
The eponymous novel by the same authors had already seduced us. Faithfully taking up its plot - the comic strip is in three volumes just as the novel is in three parts - the image of this story is still fascinating. Indeed, taking up a hypothesis which caused much ink to flow among historians and other specialists of the end of the Romanovs according to which one of the tsar's daughters survived the massacre - a hypothesis which we know today to be false -, Patrick Cothias and Patrice Ordas deliver us a beautiful and perfectly documented uchronia. The screenplay, being divided into two parts, appears clear and precise, even gaining in dynamism compared to the novel.
In the first, we witness the daily life of the Romanov family and their faithful servants, all prisoners, torn between the expectation of a hoped-for release soon and a more tragic outcome that only the Czar seems to know inevitable. The reconstruction of the last few days is undeniably successful. The historical details are there and make the comic book's premium quality.
The second part of this first volume concerns the execution. What is most striking is the blackness of the design which brilliantly recreates a macabre and sordid atmosphere. Nathalie Berr and Sébastien Bouet thus succeed both through the well-rendered expression of the faces and through the use of cold colors to express all the tragic depth of the facts already delivered by the novel.
Finesse and historicity are thus the key words of this first volume, while the second should give a good part to fiction and we hope to action. To be continued.
Screenplay: Patrice Ordas & Patrick Cothias
Drawings: Nathalie Berr
Colors: Sébastien Bouet
Wide Angle Editions