Review by Roy Boyd
We can’t imagine anyone starting to read this series here, but Mutations Episode 2 is prefaced with a ‘previously in Mutations.’ This is a good thing, as Episode 1 was loaded with exposition in an attempt to bring the reader up to speed with the story which – including the earlier five-part Mermaid Project series – now stretches over seven books.
Set in a not-too-distant future, in a world that has experienced massive climactic and social change, white Americans and Europeans have been kicked from their spot at the top of the totem pole, and ice covers large swathes of Africa. Our two heroes, Romane Pennac and Brahim El Malik, are heading up a task force to investigate cetacean (thats whales, etc.) attacks on fishing boats and the like. These attacks are much more serious than might be imagined, as the angry animals are tooled-up with rocket launchers and torpedoes.
Writers Leo and Corine Jamar are undoubtedly verbose, and the book would have benefitted from some judicious editing. In spite of that, they keep the plot moving forward with many twists and turns. Like most good spy stories, the characters visit many exotic locations, and they’re all executed with aplomb by artist Fred Simon. His artwork is rarely flashy, but always very confident and consistent.
This book, like the others, has many themes (racism, sexism, climate change, corporate greed, etc.) and perhaps bites off a little more than it can chew. With some of those subjects the writers may be displaying signs of cakeism (having your cake and eating it). Their villains, for the most part, are as white as can be, but so is one of our protagonists. Amusingly, while they continue to point out the evil inherent in greedy corporations, our two heroes seem to take an inordinate amount of pleasure from having unlimited expenses.
An early murder, and a few shootings later, probably account for the 12+ rating that this book gets, and Episode 1 didn’t. Other than that, there’s little to upset anyone. This two-part tale is really an extended postscript to the earlier Mermaid Project cycle, and it neatly wraps up all the loose ends from that story. However, there’s plenty of scope for more thrilling adventures featuring these likeable characters.