Teen witch/sorcerer’s apprentice Melusine finds that mixing magic and love results in mayhem in this collection of humorous one- and two-page gag strips.
The stories range in quality from “That’s cute,” to “That’s funny,” to “Awww, how sweet.” Some of my favorites include the clever way Melusine uses her broom to escape a witch hunter’s trap, her novel way of helping a weaver finish his fiancée’s dress, the results her house-cleaning have on a group of breakfasting vampires, and her love potion for hares and tortoises.
The best story in the volume, however, contains a great deal of wisdom. As her aunt asks Melusine why she’s drinking a love potion and who the second dose is for, writer Gilson delivers a message on human nature without being heavy-handed.
Melusine is impulsive, prone to mischief, a bit impatient, a hard worker, and basically good at heart. When things go wrong, she tries to fix them, but she’s not above using her magic on someone when they make her angry. In other words, she’s just like most of us, which is part of her charm.
The other part of that charm comes from artist Clarke and colorist Cerise’s rendition of Melusine and her world. The character design isn’t highly detailed. It has a simple, attractive, animated look to it. Melusine’s facial design lends itself to a variety of expressions, and Clarke uses them all.
There’s also a strong feeling of movement on the pages. Clarke is always changing the positions of the characters between panels to create a sense of motion. The backgrounds are basic, often being just a solid colored panel. When detail is needed, though, Clarke does a nice job setting the scene. Melusine’s landscape is littered with castle turrets, peasant cottages, villages, and forests–all of which gives the strip a timeless, fairytale quality.
Cerise’s colors are perfect for this fairytale sense. The backgrounds tend to be neutral tans, yellows, and blues that keep the eye focused on the characters. Of those characters, Melusine is dressed in teal and black. Add in her long red-orange hair, and you have a striking and attractive color scheme that really pops off the page.
Melusine: Love Potions is an enjoyable collection that’s appropriate for readers of all ages.