Asterix The Legionary

I am in a reviewathon of a book, with Booky, Alex and Sharon, not sure how that came about, it was a while back, probably I volunteered as I have fond memories of discovering the Asterix stories way back when I was a schoolkid in France. They are picture books, comics I suppose, though much nicer and better quality than paper comics I know of.

Written by René Goscinny and wonderfully illustrated by Albert Uderzo, they are about a village of indominatable Gaulish warriors who adventure around the world and fight the Roman Republic, with the aid of a magic potion, during the era of Julius Caesar, in an ahistorical telling of the time after the Gallic Wars. Asterix de Gaul is a little guy and Obelisk is his rather rotund, big good friend and they are the main stars of the show.

Booky asked us to read No.10 in the series ‘Asterix the Legionary’ and this is the synopsis from wiki- (click on little arrow to see it)

Asterix and Obelisk are setting off for a wild boar hunt when they encounter Panacea, former childhood resident of the village who has since moved to Condatum, and Obelix immediately falls in love with her. Some hours later, Panacea receives word that her fiancé Tragicomix has been conscripted into the Roman army and shipped to North Africa and Obelix, although heartbroken, promises to bring him back. Asterix and Obelix travel to Condatum, where they learn that Tragicomix has already left for Massilia, the mediterranean port from which the soldiers depart, and themselves enlist in the army to follow him, alongside Hemispheric the Goth; Selectivemploymentax the Briton; Gastronomix the Belgian; Neveratalos the Greek; and Ptenisnet, an Egyptian tourist who spends the entire book believing himself to be in a holiday camp. After completing basic training (and repeatedly and comically driving their instructors to the verge of tears), the newly formed unit sets off as reinforcements to Caesar against Scipio, Afranius and King Juba 1 of Numidia, Asterix and Obelix soon find out that Tragicomix has gone missing in action after a skirmish, and raid Scipio’s camp to recover him. This results in the Battle of Thapsus, in which the confusion over the Gauls’ unorthodox assault and the similarity of both armies’ uniforms cause a default victory for Caesar after the frustrated Scipio sounds the retreat. The Gauls are cornered by Caesar after the battle is over; but released and sent home for their assistance in his victory. Asterix and Obelix thereafter celebrate at home, while Panacea and Tragicomix return to Condatum to marry.

The Asterix comic books are great fun to read, for me the best bits are the names that the characters are given. Asterix and Obelisk are always getting the better of the Pesky Romans, two of which have my favourite names in this book, the centurions Nefarius Purpus and Dubius Status! These two are the instructors for the new recruits and are completely bamboozled, out-manouvered and worn out by our heroes.

Obviously there have been a few liberties taken with history in Asterix The Legionary, Caesar won the Battle of Thapsus without the aid of cartoon characters just to be clear 🤣.

Uderzo’s artwork is just excellent, lots of little details to find in the frames that make you smile i.e in the final celebration when our heroes return to the village Cacofonix the Bard is bound and gagged up in a lookout post because no-one likes his singing

and the pictures where the little Asterix and big,fat Obelisk are biffing the stuffing out of the Romans are always funny.

Booky had a few questions for us to answer, which he and Alex did a blinder on, I’ll do my best to add my thoughts..

1) Why aren’t Asterix and Obelix married men? They seem old enough.
Don’t hate me, but one is too short, and the other too chunky. Not your average girls dreamboat, unlike Tragicomix.

2) The Romans just can’t catch a break can they? They try to hide from Obelix and end up trampling on the flowers he wants for Panacea.
No, the Romans are always butt of the joke, and deservedly so for trampling on flowers.

3) Bureaucracy portrayed here, is it any different today? And if we could just biff and bam the parasites who give us the runaround now, would it change anything? Hint, yes!
Nope. The Romans were consummate bureauocrats. Without their record-keeping a lot of history would be lost. Long live the quill pushers!

4) What did you think of Asterix’s insistence on going through the Legion training as quickly as possible?
It had to be done fast so they could rescue Tragi-guy and get back home ASAP, no point in hanging about.

5) Is Tragicomix a pansy? Why didn’t he biff and bam his way out of the Legion like a good Gaul?
He’s not a pansy, he’s a lover not a fighter. And he wouldn’t have wanted to have those boyish good looks damaged.

6) Julius Caesar is always doing favors for Asterix and Obelix.  Should they get a loyalty rewards membership? Save Julius 3 times and get a free attack on a Roman Patrol kind of thing?
I don’t think they want to be in hock to Caesar, the lads have their own agenda, plus a magic potion, so have no need of Caesars prezzies.

7) Finally, just where DOES Tragicomic pin that clasp for his cape?
His cape just has a clasp that fastens the two sides together!! I am thinking Booky wasn’t too keen on Tragicomix! 🤣

It was fab to go back in time, and I’ll be sharing this and the other Asterix books I have, with my grandkids.

Booky’s review:~ Click HERE

Alex’s review :~ HERE

Sharon’s review:~ HERE

25 thoughts on “Asterix The Legionary

  1. I read these in French at school when I was learning the language. I loved the names of the characters, and ended up buying them all in Englsh translation to enjoy. The French petrol company Antar used Asterix as their logo for a long time, and I also had some Asterix souvenirs bought in French petrol stations.
    (You were a schoolkid in France? Why didn’t I know that?)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. great review Fraggle! and you’re absolutely correct, I was not a fan of Tragicomix 🙂 I also liked that great big picture at the top of the page.

    I don’t remember how this group read got started either. I do know it was bandied about last year but not a clue what made us decide to go this route. It was quite an experience and I’m glad you enjoyed the book 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …the “lookout” is actually Cacofonix’ home…. (“may have” read these books over and over again and that’s why I’d still like to be a cartoonist!)….great review Frag’….am off to re-read my childhood copies now….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What fun! I’ve been away on vacation and this is such a cool post to find on my return.
    I devoured comics, manga (and anime) and graphic novels most of my life. I never heard of Asterix and Obelix, but I shall have to look into this series. The artwork is spectacular and the characters sound like a hoot. Thanks for introducing them to me, Fraggle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So did you study in France? quite fantastic to live between two cultures separated by a thin piece of Ocean : ) at home we have one magazine of Asterix & Obelix in black and white, I loved much the drawing but the humor, although crystalline, was difficult to understand to me, I mean quite innocent maybe in comparison to our humor that draws much from Benny Hill he he. But I recall it because there was one word used most in political and economical context that was quite new to me.
    In the part where you say “Why aren’t Asterix and Obelix married men? They seem old enough.” I was wondering if they were a couple and thinking why they should be married to each other. It took time and now I understand what you meant 😅 said that I think usually setting in a home with family means to change that warrior type of adventure into a new adventure to raise children and so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review and I love the look of your blog. This was my first blog a thon, or whatever you call it, and I see I did a lot of things wrong. But I loved your answers. You’re right about Rome recording history, even if some of the writers (Suetonius comes to mind) enjoyed the salacious.
    I am now following your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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