The Death of Stalin

Writer: Fabien Nury
Artist: Thierry Robin
Colourist: Thierry Robin, Lorien Auyeyre
Publisher: Titan Comics

A review by Josh Rose

If I haven’t made it clear yet, I’m a fan of history. I loved history class in high school so much I went and studied it in university. Why did I love it? History is just another story, albeit a true one. My favourite topics to learn about were the World Wars and the Cold War. So much of our pop culture spins out of the Cold War. Basically every spy and science fiction novel, TV series, and film. And here is The Death of Stalin, a story about one of the biggest figures in modern history, Joseph Stalin.

Shortly after he has a stroke, the wheels of his government start to plot. The creators took what evidence was available to them and crafted a story. The Death of Stalin follows the Central Committee of the Communist Party as they navigate the political waters of “trying” to save Stalin while each of them try to gain and improve their individual positions to achieve more power.

Fabien Nury introduces us to the Central Committee, their roles in the government and motivations. All we need to know about these characters we learn in their first scene. Lavrentiy Pavloich Beria is the prime conspirator and manipulator in The Death of Stalin and I hated this guy right from the start. From the moment he learned of Stalin’s stroke I could feel his slime oozing from the page. This book is all about its characters, and their scheming, motivations, and manipulations are what move the plot along more than the actual event of Stalin’s passing.

One thing in The Death of Stalin I wasn’t too keen about was how Thierry Robin fit nine panels onto a page at time. It just felt too busy at times. That being said, Robin did a good job making that layout easy to follow and cinematic feeling. Robin also does an incredible job with the characters’ faces and conveying their emotions. The colours by Robin and Lorien Auyeyre do a good job setting the tone and atmosphere for the book.

The Verdict
Buy it! The Death of Stalin is a wonderful political thriller with some insight to the state of the USSR at the time of Stalin’s death. Full of characters that you just love to hate, and with cinematic art that does an amazing job conveying the intense emotions these character feel. The emotions and motivations of these characters move the plot along way more than the actual death seems to do, and that’s an intriguing angle.

The Death of Stalin has been developed for film, scheduled for release in October this year.

Josh Rose
Basically a hobbit, Josh is always enjoying food and drink, and going on unexpected adventures. Beware if you see him without a cup of coffee: caffeination deprivation makes this boy go loco.

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