The Eiffel Tower Demon (1976)

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When Tardi opens The Eiffel Tower Demon with a recap of the first Adèle Blanc-Sec episode, I should have known he was going to be incredibly complicated again. It was just so nice to understand exactly what had happened, without all the MacGuffin.

But Eiffel Tower eventually reveals that previous story was basically all just MacGuffin for this story. I don’t know if Tardi will be able to keep up the continual unravelling in subsequent episodes; Eiffel Tower has a relatively final ending… with epilogues for some of the supporting cast Tardi would have to revise.

This story does reveal a little more about Adèle. While still a person of questionable morals, Tardi establishes she’s writing a true crime book and got involved with the criminal class–well, the gentleman burglar class–in her research. She’s simply pursuing a friend’s murder, the genre standard, and finds herself in further peculiar trouble this time.

This Paris of 1911 (and 1912) Tardi has created is, while dark and dangerous, quite wondrous. Ancient cults, dinosaurs and bumbling policemen. It’s a lot of fun. And Tardi’s having fun too. He gets caught up with characters and follows them around, so much so I wondered if Adèle would even appear in the epilogue.

But the exuberance isn’t just in the plotting or the art; Tardi makes some great dialogue decisions as well. Particularly nice is the running gag about a popular play–it’s popular because it’s so lame.

Eiffel Tower is gourmet French popcorn.

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