Review of The Illegalists (2016)

Sequential art with text

Attila Futaki (artist), Laura Pierce (writer), Stefan Vogel (writer).

Read in 2020.

A fictionalization of the adult life of anarchist robber Jules Bonnot (1876–1912).

A Kickstarter-based production, competently composed but somewhat ill conceived. Unlike, for instance, The Art of Flying (2009), the writing is morally dichotomous, with corrupt chief-of-police Guichard openly ordering a police infiltrator to fire as an excuse for the police to shoot and kill leftists en masse. In that scene, stylized composition emphasizes how the leftists all go unarmed in good faith and the police go armed to commit mass murder. The only real strike against Bonnot as a bad-boy revolutionary is that his gang kills a bystander who gets violent when they steal his car to get away from the police. This is romanticism, based on the idea that breaking the law for money is ethical, personally empowering and an effective form of protest against societal ills.

The visual storytelling is dull. The poses are unsuccessfully exaggerated, the faces insufficently on-model for the busy art style, and the typesetter couldn’t even put an accent on the “é” en René.

sequential art text fiction