Asterix and the Laurel Wreath
Created: Sat Mar 20 17:04:50 2010 | Last modified: Sat Mar 20 17:04:50 2010
As a result of a silly bet issued by Chief Vitalstatistix to his brother-in-law in Lutetia in a state of drunken intoxication, Asterix and Obelix are forced to travel to Rome in search of the ultimate prize: Julius Caesar's Laurel Wreath. How they go about it is what this album is all about.
This is probably the most sophisticated Asterix album created both in terms of storyline as well as the style of illustrations. Uderzo is at his best in drawing the scenes in the cosmopolitan setting of Ancient Rome and in bringing out the decadent lifestyle of the Romans. Full of humourous situations, this album sparkles as one of the wittiest in the entire series, although most of the jokes will be understood and appreciated by grown-ups rather than kids. The relative lack of slapstick comedy also makes this album probably boring for kids. I certainly remember reading this a long time ago as a kid and I certainly didn't appreciate this album as much as I do now.
In my view, the most enjoyable sequences are the ones where Asterix and Obelix try and sell themselves as "premium" slaves in the Roman Slave Market and also the sequence where the duo are brought to court on charges of conspiracy to kill Caesar. The part where Asterix addresses the court on behalf of the prosecution is one of the funniest scenes in the entire series. Literally brings an involuntary chuckle every time.
"Asterix and the Laurel Wreath" is probably the album written at the height of Goscinny and Uderzo's creative genius. Both the writer and the illustrator were probably at the peak of their careers and the English translators Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge do a fantastic job as well. All in all, this is a must-have in the Asterix collection of any serious fan. Worth a full 5/5.