Asterix and the Falling Sky (2005)
Le ciel lui tombe sur la tête
Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent…
Essentially America = Both good and bad. Criticises both the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and American cultural imperialism (well hot dogs anyway) in general. However shows genuine affection for the films of Walt Disney and other cultural icons.
- Toon aka “Shrinking Violet”: Mickey Mouse lookalike alien.
- Tadsilweny: his planet. Anagram of “Walt Disney”.
- Hubs: his leader. Anagram of “Bush”.
- Polyanthus: Roman Centurion.
Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes…
- The cover illustration references – in mirror image – that of Asterix the Gaul.
- The tension-relieving Village brawl is frozen in place (p4)
- Geriatrix’s wife has a thing for Schwarzenegger Superman clones (p12 onwards).
- The unsubtle shield gag has happened off the page (p25).
- Obelix remembers climbing The Sphinx in Asterix and Cleopatra (p33).
- There is an early abortive end-of-story banquet (p35).
- Cacofonix for the first time actually sings at the banquet. Unhygienix and Fulliautomatix stand in for him tied to the tree.
Cleverness and contemporaneity…
- Whilst Toon is Mickey Mouse sans ears his clones are basically “Schwarzenegger plays Superman” (p6).
- Getafix references Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” (p11).
- There is a pile of exhaust-charred Romans (p15).
- The Nagma’s appearance is based upon Japanese Manga and is an anagram of same (p16 on).
- Asterix can’t stomach a hot dog (p17).
- Obelix can take anything that a Manga Karate ace can deliver (pp18-19).
- Toon references nuclear deterrence (p20).
- The Cyberats are based on the Cyberman weapon Cybermats from “Doctor Who* (p22).
- Nuclear explosion swear words (p28)
- Obelix creates a forerunner of ten-pin bowling involving Cyberats and a menhir (p29).
- The expression “needs a shrink” has never been so literal (p38).
- Asterix quotes Hamlet “Suits of Solemn Black” (p41).
Obelix has a tender side…
- Misunderstands the idiom “fat chance” and decks the Superman clone (p8).
Nihil conveniens decretis eius – source unknown.
Good or what?
Good – yes really.
I’d best whisper it, because this is hands-down the worst-received Asterix book, but I rather like this. The objections seem to be based upon the notion that science fiction has no place in the Asterix universe. I can’t see the problem with it for a one-off. The fact that Toon wipes their memories means that essentially Asterix remains science-fiction free. No this is fine. The satire is well targeted and parts of the book are properly funny.