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.

Notable Nomenclature…

  • 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).

Classic Pegleg

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.