The third and final installment of Arther De Pins' The March of the Crabs is full of surprises and the now telltale mirth that underlies this epic quest of tenacious crustaceans. With the burst pipeline having decimated the ranks of the "evolved" crabs, they now have resumed their subservience to the other "higher order" shell-wearers until the crab who started it all brings what he's learned from the depths back home. The question of survival paces throughout the book, and the ending is one you'd never see coming.
The funny thing is, everyone thinks that Les Mis is about the French Revolution, when it's actually a rebellion that happened years later, because the Revolution didn't quite take, and the already agitated masses continued to protest and rebel because the people who took power took it completely and relegated everyone back to the same nonsense they had thought that they'd escaped. This theme very much informs the plot of this final chapter, harking on the ability for power to corrupt those who originally wish to better all their people. Funnily enough, this is the scenario that has increased the volatility of race relations in the US right now, as White Americans fear the treatment as an upcoming membership as a minority and being treated as they've been treating the new majorities for much of their tenure in power. The trap is there, however, of being a new order being replaced in the same manner, which benefits no one.
This finale fairly vibrates with these themes, and yet the ride isn't without its laugh-out-loud moments, with the playful wit that has made the series so enjoyable thus far. The characters who have been chiseled out of the masses over the three volumes reach their peaks here, marking the end to the dynamic transformation that we've seen thus far.
I just love the artistry in this whole damn series. The Art Deco sensibility is nuanced and smoothed to a high polish. I could honestly stare at panels empty of text for hours; the storytelling is masterful in it, and the minimal text in the denouement revels in the freedom and beauty of this exact choice. As rich as the illustration is, it's still somehow suggestive, as though this world is just a tease for the one laying at the heart of the fable. The choices and the care in the work are readily evident, and, for me, it hits all the notes perfectly.
I've loved this series from the first few pages, and the complete journey is well worth the read. Humorous, impactful, and riddled with charm, The March of the Crabs is a series that stands out from amid the chaos as a work that should be named in the same breath as the greats. Seriously, go get you some crabs.
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Creative Team: Arthur De Pins (Writer/Artist), Edward Gauvin (Translator), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
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