Le roi cyclope (The cyclopean king) is an epic fantasy Franco Belgian Comic written, drawn and colored by Isabelle Dethan.
Othemar is the old king of Lycènes. He orders his advisor, Marquess Desiderat de Mornemont ("the Marquess"), to make him immortal. With the king's agreement, the Marquess mutilates the seven princes, then tries to kill them and turn them into obediant ghosts. Only the youngest one, Thalès, escapes this fate. When he is mortally wounded by the king's guards, the guards dump him into the "well of the dead". He is saved by Antimée, who brings him to the garden of Pareïza. The magical garden heals him and makes him a seer. The Marquess detects through sorcery that the prince is alive and finds the garden. He absorbes all magical powers of this place but since Thalès defeats him during a swordfight, the Marquess lets Thalès and Antimée fly away. Several years later, the Marquess is at the head of the kingdom, and Thalès tries to find a way to defeat him. Thalès' seer power allows him to understand the Marquis' only weakness: his love for a gipsy girl, Griselda.
This is not a typical Heroic Fantasy story: the plot, the universe and the characters are very unique. Sure, you have The Hero and the Big Bad, you have Swords and Sorcery, but maybe because the writer is a woman, she brings something you don't see in classical fantasy adventures. That is why there are a lot of averted or subverted tropes in those books.
One of the many interests of this graphic novel is the antagonist, Marquess Desiderat de Mornemont, nicknammed le marquis délicieux (the delicious marquess). He is an Evil Sorcerer. He is the Big Bad. He becomes so powerful that nobody can defeat him. But at the end, you feel sorry for him.
Other main characters are:
- Thalès, nicknamed le roi cyclope is the youngest son of the king.
- Antimée, the guardian of the Garden of Pareïza, Thalès' love interest
- Griselda, a gypsy storyteller, the Marquess' love interest
These books provide examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: the Marquess. His hands are a lethal weapon, along with his Living Shadows.
- Action Girl: subverted. Griselda has a sword, she never uses it, but she is the one who causes the Big Bad's defeat at the end.
- Alas, Poor Villain: When the Marquess lets himself be killed by Thalès. You can't help but feel sorry for him, although he's a monster. A marker of Isabelle Dethan's skill at creating a repulsive, yet deeply fascinating character, whom you "love to hate".
- Alas, Poor Yorick: When Griselda holds a childs skull in the castle's charnel house during her stay, and questions the Marquess cruelty. Angst follows.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Guess who? The Marquess. Although he once used to be a man of honour, he is the epitome of the Evil Chancellor winning the king's trust to thwart him all the more, and ending up ruling by fear and force.
- Bittersweet Ending: The sweet part? The Marquess dies. The bitter part? The Marquess dies.
- Black Magic: Everything the Marquess does is twisted and evil. And creepy, like his shadow magic.
- Blind Seer: Thalès has lost an eye when he becomes a seer. He can see past and present events, but not future ones.
- Character Title: Thalès, The Hero, whose nickname is le roi cyclope.
- Duel to the Death: Subverted. When Thalès and the Marquis fight at the end, the Marquess already lost his will to live, and lets Thalès kill him.
- Eyepatch of Power: Averted. Thalès is a capable fighter, he has an eyepatch, but he is not really badass.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everybody calls Desiderat de Mornemont the Marquess. Also, the captain of the royal guard.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Marquess is blatantly the master of The Dark Arts and the Authority Equals Asskicking type. He took over the kingdom by force and rules with an iron fist, spreading fear and desolation over the land. He can kill from a distance, with his bare hands or shadow, cast the rain, perform divination to find a way, open doors via telekinesis... He's also a skilled Necromancer who turns Thalès' brothers into obedient ghosts.
- Ghostly Glide: How the Marquess sometimes gets around. The character design is deliberately sharp, making all the more a stricking contrast with the other characters. Plus, you never get to see his feet.
- Green Thumb: Antimée. Even after the loss of her garden, she continues to make things grow.
- Heroic Fantasy, with some elements of High Fantasy: Victory is not directly achieved through the force of arms, the Big Bad is strong enough to destroy the Garden of Eden and to conquer several kingdoms,...
- Hot Gypsy Woman: Although Griselda attracts men while NOT being overt in her sexuality.
- Immortality Immorality: The king allows the Marquess to kill his 7 sons while he tries to be immortal. Averted in the case of Antimée, the guardian of the Garden of Pareïza, who may be immortal and is the nicest character.
- Lean and Mean: Desiderat de Mornemont is tall, dark, and skeletally thin, most certainly inspired by Nosferatu, with a few streaks of Disneys Maleficent and Judge Claude Frollo.
- Love Is a Weakness: For the all-powerful Marquess, who lets his feelings for Griselda lead him to his downfall.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: At the very moment when Thalès falls in the clutches of the Marquess and is about to be severely tortured, Antimée has a sudden panic attack, wakes up, and goes to retrieve him from a certain death.
- Only Mostly Dead: Thalès is "hard to kill", according to the Marquess. The young prince narrowly escapes death twice in the story, and owes his victory to Griselda's impact on the Big Bad.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Averted, the Ghouls are nice creatures who refuse to eat the livings.
- Mook Chivalry: Averted in the first pages of the story, when Thalès almost dies because of them.
- Most Writers Are Male: Averted, Isabelle Dethan is maybe the first female to write Heroic Fantasy comics.
- Rightful King Returns: Thalès, who is the only surviving heir to the kingdom of Beldaran. He lives for five years as a fugitive and ends up confronting the Marquess as soon as he finds his opponents weakness.
- Spurned into Suicide: The Marquess, after he lets Griselda leave the castle. He never gets over her and loses both his power thirst and will to live.
- Sword Fight: Thalès and the Marquess fight twice, using swords. But the fate of the world does not depend on those duels.
- Turn Coat: The captain of the royal guard of Lycènes who, after stabbing and leaving Thalès for dead, switches sides as soon as he learns the Marquess take over the kingdom. He then creates a mercenary army and gets in appropriate terms with the prince he nearly slained.
- Villainous Crush: The Marquess literally falls in love at first sight with Griselda and secretly obsesses over her for five years, retaining her sword and blue scarf as keepsakes.