REVIEW: U4 – Jules (2022)

A Graphic Novel by Pierre-Paul Renders, Denis Lapière, and Adrián Huelva

When I recently finished reading another book in this series, U4 – Koridwen, I was unaware that this series bas based on a French novel series of the same name. Now that I’ve started reading these graphic novels from Europe Comics, I would love for the opportunity to read a translation of the original books if the quality is at least on par with these graphic novels. Sadly, it does not appear that such translations are available in English. As I stated before, this series is made up of four “main” books, each one telling the story of one of the principal characters, all leading to a convergence where a final fifth book is supposed to be read. While Koridwen was the tale of a modern day druid of sorts, this book sets up the path of a version of a warrior, all fitting in with the story’s theme of these kids being players of a popular MMORPG called Warriors of Time and using their skills to become real life versions of those classes when the world needs them.

““My name’s Jules. From the window of my Paris apartment, I’m looking in horror at the piles of bodies in the street below. My parents are on the other side of the world. They’re almost certainly dead. My older brother, Pierre, can only drown his sorrow in drugs, but I must look after Alicia, a little girl who somehow escaped the virus and is all alone. But what can I do for her? My only hope is to join the other Warriors of Time masters…This meeting is where I’ll find out who Khronos really is…” You choose which volume to read first. The first four are parallel stories, so it doesn’t matter which one you start with. But you must finish with Khronos, where the four threads are finally brought together.”

While the previous book showed the virus’s impact on rural French life, this book concentrates on the character of Jules, who shows up towards the end of Koridwen’s story. Jules live in Paris already (whereas Koridwen had to travel there) and had a first hand look at the aftermath of a virus that has seemingly devastated the entire country. This volume has WAY more information on what’s actually going on – including the fact that U4 is the name of the virus, where it started, it’s survivability rate etc. It is said that the virus has targeted adults, leaving mostly teenagers to fend for themselves in a world devolving into utter chaos around them. It honestly would have probably been better to read this volume before the one I actually did, but I kind of like the innocence in not really knowing anything as Koridwen had. That’s one cool thing about this, nobody will likely have the exact same experience regarding this story due to the nature of how it’s presented with the concurrently running volumes that you can read in any order.

One of the more interesting parts of this was Jules having to suddenly care for a young toddler named Alicia that dubbed him “Diego” due to his resemblance to the character of the same name in the popular children’s show Dora the Explorer. Things get tough at times, but having someone to care for matures Jules, and he goes more and more down his path of becoming a warrior as he now sees himself. With this new quest – trying to keep Alicia alive and possibly saving his brother from a drug addiction, he sets out to do the one and only thing he can think of – head to a certain meeting point where various masters of the aforementioned MMORPG are supposed to come together to “rewind time”. This was a directive that the game’s nebulous creator “Khronos” set forth right before the servers went offline. As insane as that sounds, and much to the dismay of others he tells this plan to, this possible time traveling scheme is all he has to he runs with it. Hope is better than nothing, I suppose.

I talked about how much I enjoyed the last story simply because of how “different” it felt compared to other works within the same post-apocalyptic fiction genre. It feels fresh and timely with its references to videogames and the like, without immediately dating itself. I am excited to eventually try to read more of this if the opportunity presents itself, and as such I’d like to do more reviews. So far, this has been one of my favorite titles for the year, and hope that it keeps up – there would be nothing worse than having this turn out to have a bad ending or something!

If you are interested in this book, click HERE

For additional titles by the same publisher, Click HERE

NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.

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