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(Benny Breakiron In) The Red Taxis
posted July 16, 2013

imageCreator: Peyo, Will
Publishing Information: Papercutz, hardcover, 64 pages, 2013, $11.99
Ordering Numbers: 9781597074094 (ISBN13)

This is the first of the Benoit Brisefer comics that Peyo -- with background help from Will -- did for Spirou starting in late 1960s. The internet says the work has been translated here before as Steven Strong. Benny is a small, polite boy possessed of superhuman strength who doesn't like mean people, obvious injustices or implements of violence and thus goes about very nicely trying to wipe these things out when he sees them. The general cheekiness of his power display kind of matches the potential brutishness of the person crossing him at any one time. When he has a cold, he becomes a normal boy, which is about as sweet and lovely a thematically loaded conception of powers as you're likely to ever come across.

This is one of those hand-sized books that Papercutz has been doing with the Smurfs series. While a fan of comics art might wish for something bigger, it seems to have hit a commercial sweet spot for them. The work itself is pedestrian in terms of its overall narrative flow -- I don't remember a lick about the story I read -- but charming from scene to scene. The Benny/Benoit character works both as a little, colorful cartoon visual and within the stories as presented in terms of kind of crashing up against various storytelling cliches. Because the component actions are broken down so fully on the page, the acts of strength can actually thrill for the way they play with unexpected perspective. There is something wonderful and leisurely to the whole exercise. The bit parts remain alive in my mind, such as when Benny skulks away from a broken vending machine -- with great power comes significant responsibility, at least where property damage is concerned.