Largo Winch – jungle thriller time
“No family, no connections, anti-establishment, womanizer, wanderer, iconoclast and fighter, he inherits at age 26 the W group, which is worth $10 billion. Largo Winch”
That back cover blurb is really all you need to know when reading Largo Winch. Well, that and the fact that you’re unlikely to find a more enjoyable action adventure anywhere in comics right now.
Volume 4 sees the jeans wearing billionaire taking some much need R&R on the ski slopes whilst his best friend, Simon Ovronnaz heads for Myanmar (formerly Burma) for a little R&R of his own. Except the powers that be have a plan to use Ovronnaz and his relationship with Winch to sort out a few of their domestic problems. Ovronnaz is setup on a murder charge, condemned to death and transferred to the infamous Fort Makiling, an impregnable fortress of a prison deep inside Myanmar.
(Fort Makiling – rather inaccessible. Looks like Simon Ovronnaz may be in a little trouble ….. unless he happens to know a billionaire adventurer who just wont give up no matter what the odds against him are.)
On hearing about his friend’s plight Winch tries the diplomatic approach but soon discovers that it’s not just Myanmar he’s fighting against but the US Government, the C.I.A. and insiders at his own company. Unable to get his best friend out by legitimate means Largo heads to Myanmar and quickly into more trouble than even he can handle.
The Hour Of The Tiger adheres to the formula for the previous Largo Winch tales; albeit with less of the complicated business dealings I’d enjoyed so much in previous volumes. But in their place we get more on Largo’s past and his previous dealings with the rebel group in Myanmar; The Golden Tigers. And it’s Largo’s past that saves the day here as he uses it to make a veritable deal with the devil to mount his rescue mission on Fort Makiling – a debt that will no doubt be called in at some point in the future. But although the settings for Winch have changed, the ideas and the action stay the same. This would be a problem if Van Hamme and Franq weren’t absolute masters of putting Winch through the wringer time and time again.
I’ve read three of the volumes so far and it just doesn’t get tired, you’re propelled through a Largo Winch adventure by the sheer manic entertainment of the thing. Franq’s artwork just sparkles here, more so than in earlier volumes – maybe it’s the different locations, maybe it’s just him getting even better – but page after page of stunning art all flooded with sumptuous colours – blues, yellows and gorgeous greens – all capturing the Thai/Burmese surroundings.
(Franq’s artwork here in Largo Winch Volume 4 is made even better by the beautiful colouring job – making the very best of the lush colours of the book’s setting.)
Largo Winch is definitely my favourite of the Cinebook. It’s the glorious predictability of the stories that I really enjoy. A bit like every great action-adventure hero, we know what’s going to happen, we know that Winch is going to be imperilled, will get the girl, will beat the baddies and will prevail. But that’s never the point – it’s about the journey and how much fun we have along the way. And just like the other Largo Winch Volumes this one doesn’t let us down at all.