Review by Fiona Jerome
The Demon of the Eiffel Tower is the second volume in the adventures of Jacques Tardi’s delightful and critically acclaimed Adele Blanc-Sec stories. NBM published the first four in the series in English, based on translations by Jean-Marc L’Officier originally done for Cheval Noir. They are not as fluent as Kim Thomson’s latter ones for Fantagraphics.
This volume continues the story from Pterror Over Paris. Tardi’s mysterious lady adventurer, as mysterious and devil may care as Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese, and as much an anti-heroine with her own agenda, has come to the city to prove a thief accused of murdering a banker is not the guilty party. A detective approaches her to steal a statue belonging to the dead banker, but admits he doesn’t know who wants the statue and what they intend to do with it. Adele sets out to solve this mystery, while police become concerned by people disappearing when crossing a certain bridge…
Following a survey highlighting the lack of strong female lead characters, especially the sort who kept their clothes on all of the time, Tardi sought to create a new kind of heroine, one who was curious, level-headed, intrepid and able to outwit most of the men she came across. Mysterious, compelling and quite amoral, Adele was popular from the moment she was introduced to audiences in France. Tardi’s deceptively simple style, adept at conveying subtle emotions and straightforward approach to storytelling enable him to create complex characters while keeping the many strands of his bizarre plots in order. In The Demon of the Eiffel Tower he has become more comfortable with the milieu and characters, allowing his delightful interplay between them to shine. One of the best volumes in the series.