[Very important note: all of the reviews will be based on the English language publications researched and painstakingly translated by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge.]
Synopsis. The story begins with Getafix, the village druid, breaking his golden sickle. Without the sickle, he is unable to cut mistletoe, a vital ingredient in his magic elixir. Asterix and Obelix volunteer to go to Lutetia (ancient Paris) where Obelix’s cousin, Metallurgix. However, upon arrival in the city, they discover that Metallurgix has been kidnapped by a sickle-trafficking gang. The adventure is afoot as our heroes turn up clues (and knock a few heads in the process) to discover what has happened to the sickle-smith. The more they uncover, the more sinister the activities and sponsorship of the gang appear to be.
Funny Names. We already mentioned Metallurgix. Also of note: Clovogarlix and Navishtrix (Knavish Tricks).
Details of Particular Interest. The comic book was first serialized starting in 1960 in Pilote, the french variety comic. It was compiled for publication from those strips. The production of the art is better than the first, but still pretty rough.
Unlike “Asterix the Gaul,” Obelix figures heavily in this book (Hey! A pun and we didn’t even realize it at first! Aren’t we clever dicks?). It is also the introduction of the end-of-story banquet and the obligatory Cacafonix tie-up. The story also sets up the “traveling adventure” theme used through many of the books.
The series was still just getting started at this point, so the characters had a different feel than in later stories. For instance, Getafix is primarily viewed as a sage stabilizing force in the village, whereas in this story he has just an edge of oddball druidery in him. Obelix has more basic emotions. If he gets a good meal and a good fight in before the end of the day, he’s an affable sort. We prefer him this way. Later adventures (especially the last ones) tend to paint him as a bit of a fat fop. All around, this story gets our resounding approval. No perfect score yet.