Alix, right, and Enak, left.Alix
is a French-Belgian comic series created by Jacques Martin in 1948. It may be considered the serious, historically accurate counterpart to the more famous Astérix
, which it actually predates. It is a classic example of the ligne claire
school popularized by Hergé.
The title character is a young Gaul from the 1st century BCE who, after being captured and enslaved, is adopted by a rich Roman and becomes a Roman citizen himself. He goes through various adventures that take him all over The Roman Republic
and beyond—at one point, all the way to Han Dynasty China
—and becomes a friend of Gaius Julius Caesar
. His sidekick
is a teenage Egyptian boy, Enak, and his nemesis
is a scheming Greek named Arbaces.
In 2012, a sequel series came out titled Alix Senator
. As the name implies, it takes place several years later, with Julius Caesar long dead, Alix now a Roman Senator, and Enak having disappeared long ago.
Contains examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: One story has a bunch of philosophers somehow discover that atoms can be used to cause untold destruction. This is said over an image of a mushroom cloud. Then there's the villain's lair with glass windows and the steam-driven propeller ship...
- Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome
- Androcles Lion: See Noble Wolf.
- Appease the Volcano God: In "Les Proies du Volcan", Alix and Enak come across a primitive island people who practice human sacrifices to a volcano god.
- Arch-Enemy: Arbaces.
- Atlantis: Or the descendants of the Atlanteans, rather.
- Bittersweet Ending: Many an adventure ends on a bittersweet note.
- Clear My Name: A blond-haired murderer passes himself off as Alix in one story, and of course everyone thinks he did it.
- Chaste Hero: Alix sometimes finds himself with women throwing themselves at him (and sometimes seems interested), but he always finds reasons not to pursue. (However, later albums get more ambiguous; "La chute d'Icare" never makes it clear whether or not Alix did get it on with Julia, Shallow Love Interest Of The Album.)
- Though by Alix Senator he has a son, Titus.
- Creator Cameo: Not the creator himself, but in "L'Enfant grec" a supporting character named Numa Sadulus was inspired by a friend of the creator named Numa Sadoul.
- Distress Ball: Often picked up by Enak, whom Alix then has to rescue.
- Dream Sequence: Alix has a few, sometimes with prophetic elements.
- Evil Twin: Kinda. Arbaces has an identical brother, who is slightly less of an asshole to Alix, but they're still enemies.
- Give Me a Sword: Spoken verbatim by Alix as he is surrounded by Spartan soldiers in "Le Dernier Spartiate".
"If you are worth more than the Romans, let me go. If you are worth as much as the Romans, give me a sword. But if you are worth less than the Romans, then KILL ME!"
- Gladiator Games
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played straight with Alix, who is brave and wholesome to a fault. Well, if you leave out his relationship with Enak, but the latter is a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
- Historical-Domain Character: Gaius Julius Caesar, Pompey, Cleopatra and others.
- Human Sacrifice: In "Le Tombeau étrusque", a cult of Baal-worshipers practices human sacrifice.
- Imperial China: Visited (and escaped from) in one episode.
- James Bondage: Alix is bound to a cross and left for hyenas to feed on in "Le Prince du Nil". He and Enak also find themselves bound to crosses in "O Alexandrie".
- Made a Slave: How Alix ended up in Rome to begin with. Enak is also abducted by Greek slavers in "Le Dernier Spartiate".
- Magical Realism: Despite the overall realism of the series, paranormal elements occasionally crop up.
- Noble Wolf: In "Les Légions perdues", Alix saves a wolf's life. This wolf then repays the kindness by coming to his assistance on several occasions.
- No Export for You: Only a few of the albums have been published in languages other than French and Dutch.
- Not Quite Dead: Arbaces seems to die at least one in almost every album he appears in. Even when we're shown the body floating up in water.
- Playing with Fire: A girl Alix meets in Babylon has a number of psychic powers, including pyrokinesis.
- Scenery Porn
- Shirtless Scene
- So What Do We Do Now?: A group of Trojans obsessed with destroying the preserved, original Trojan Horse. When they succeed, well... A character even comments that there's nothing sadder than warriors with no war to fight.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Archelous in "L'Enfant grec" is a girl, but she passes herself off as a boy.
- The Not-Love Interest: Enak, except, you know...
- Trick Arrow: An explosive arrow is seen at one point.
- Unwilling Suspension: Happens to Enak on one occasion, with sharp spears planted under him for added effect.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the backstory to "La Tiare d'Oribal", it is revealed that a Persian ruler had his best alchemists come up with a poison that would cause anyone wearing his tiara to go mad, except those using a special antidote. After they designed both the poison and the antidote, the ruler had them all killed so the secret wouldn't transpire.
contains examples of:
- The Atoner: Alix blames himself for Enak's death, and understandably breaks down when he hears Khephren and Titus are in danger.
- Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Several characters are maimed by eagles and later falcons.
- Darker and Edgier: The sequel is a lot darker, with a contemporary art style that doesn't hesitate to show bloody deaths, not to mention Enak having died sometime before and Alix having lost his youthful idealism.
- He no longer hesitates to have a prisoner tortured for information.
- Disappeared Dad: Enak is dead (though we don't know why or how), and his son Khephren is raised by Alix alongside his own son Titus.
- The sequel clarifies that Enak died during the battle of Actium. Except he didn't: he ran away to put his wife (one of Cleopatra's handmaidens) and son out of danger, but died without leaving a body, leaving Alix to put up a gravestone and preserving the memory of his friend by omitting his cowardice. He is, of course, still alive, albeit old and not having seen his son in more than ten years.
- Eyepatch of Power: Heb.
- Generation Xerox: Titus and Khephren seem to have the same type of adventures as their fathers.
- Monumental Damage: the "mother of pyramids", where Cesarion plots to reconquer Egypt, does not survive the album.
- Retired Badass: Alix.