Asterix Omnibus #1: Collects Asterix the Gaul, Asterix and the Golden Sickle, and Asterix and the Goths.; Asterix Omnibus #2: Collects Asterix the Gladiator, Asterix and the Banquet, and Asterix and Cleopatra
tr. from French by Joe Johnson. ISBN 9781545805657; ISBN 9781545805664; ISBN 9781545805671; ISBN 9781545805688.
Gr 4-6–In the year 50 AD, the territory of Gaul is under occupation by Romans. Asterix and Obelix, a pair of Gauls empowered by a magic potion, defend their peaceful lives from Roman centurions with relative ease. Trouble arrives in the form of spies, intimidation, and the need to venture to other towns and countries for specialty goods. Asterix’s cleverness keeps him one step ahead of his enemies, often leading them through one gag after another. No matter how loony the plot becomes, from searching for a golden sickle to concocting a hair-growth formula, the dust always settles with Asterix and his friends on top. The plot of any given arc in these new omnibus editions is merely a setup for oodles of slapstick anarchy and lighthearted reversals of fortune. Humor is sewn into every aspect of the cartooning, including name gags, puns, linguistic footnotes, historical references, and the sort of childish violence that results in stars spinning over people’s heads. Despite an updated translation and some changes to the original artwork, the depiction of characters is rooted in the biases and stereotypes prevalent during their creation in the 1960s. Female characters are few and far between. Various nations and their peoples are caricatured, with the most racist stereotypes evident in the representation of Africans. Appearances of beer and wine, including a dopey drunk character, are the most mature scenarios.
VERDICT While clever wordplay and wit are abundant in this historical romp, like many cartoons produced in the last century, it is also ripe with racist stereotypes and offensive visuals. For adult collectors and collections; not appropriate for school or public library collections serving young readers.

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