It’s 2026 and the world has changed. A religious monotheist sect is threatening the balance of the world and the possible discovery of life on another planet. This would hurt the sect’s belief that the Earth is God’s creation. Recruited against his wish by the FBII, scientist Nike Hatzfeld who possesses uncanny memory has to infiltrate the sect. But in the process, he remembers two other orphans, born just after him in a Sarajevo hospital in 1993. Will Hatzfeld resist the FBII and the sect to devote his life to protecting Amir and Leyla?
This graphic novel is the first of a series of four, of which only the first three volumes have been published, as of this writing. This story and the next volume in the series are also available as a single book published in English under the title The Bilal Library - - The Beast Trilogy: Chapters 1 & 2 by Humanoids Publishing.
I had never read anything by Bilal before but now I understand why he is considered one of the masters of the comic book. Bilal creates a complex narrative with foreshadowing and memory flashbacks occurring next to present actions. As to be expected, we don’t know who is the bad guy and who is not. Bilal, however, seems to enjoy the Doctor Doom game where the villain is always a clone of the real one.
A denunciation against fundamentalism, this story shows how the last humanists on Earth try to exist, without even fighting the sect. It is the sect that is doing all the fight and all the aggression. Although only 70 pages long, this book will take hours to read and decipher. Second readings will probably offer more clues as to what’s going on and why even humanists can believe in God.
Bilal’s signature is the way he draws faces. And remarkably, he plays with this artistic handicap in his tale. His characters’ noses are very important part of whom they are. A mix of coloured sketches delineating his artwork through consecutive crosshatching, the work is delectable and vivid. Usually, strong illustrators, like Bilal have problems with storytelling. Not Bilal, His work, although almost photographic advances the story logically. There is however a strong reliance on direct captions within panels without artwork.