Malaterre Part 2 concludes the story of Gabriel, the shady and questionable father whose obsession with creating an inheritance for his family causes him to eventually tear them apart. In this second part, we see Gabriel become more of a monstrous person than he already was. The business is slipping away from him and he lashes out at those around him. His children have settled into a life free of any real parenting and his return to their daily lives sends his son into a fury. Their family dynamic is complicated and unhealthy at the best of times, showing us a group of siblings who are torn between wanting a normal life and wanting the life they’ve been forced into.
The story is a fitting end to this dramatic series, keeping Gabriel’s story consistent to the end. In general, he’s a representation of what happens when blind ambition and greed take over your life. We see his family suffering because of his frivolity. In some ways, their forced move to this country thousands of miles away from their home in France was a good thing. The kids made friends, had experiences, and lived their lives without fear. At the same time, they didn’t get to have a father who cared about them in any real way. In the end, the siblings continue with normal lives, leaving Gabriel’s dreams behind to the highest bidder.
The art style remains exceptional, especially during the final days of Gabriel’s life. He begins to look more and more like the villain he’s become, with smoke overtaking his body in most of his panels. It’s a brilliant example of art mirroring human emotion.
The Malaterre series is a solid, tragic story of a man consumed by revisions of his family’s past and an impossible future dream. It’s the portrait of an unconventional family forced to deal with the ravings of a father for whom nothing was ever good enough. Everything comes second and, in the end, he’s left in the ground of the estate that ultimately killed him.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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