Three months, one room. This is, to say the least, extremely challenging territory for a cartoonist. Somehow, though, Guy Delisle has turned André’s account of his weeks of hell into a gripping visual narrative ... In Hostage, it’s the treacherous landscape of the mind that Delisle determinedly makes his own ... Looking at these cells within a cell, every corner of André’s prison depicted from every possible angle, you’re able to absorb the terrible accretion of time in a single glance – at which point you suddenly grasp just how well the comic serves this particular story. All this darkness and claustrophobia shouldn’t be exhilarating. The fact Delisle makes it so is yet another reason why he must be counted as one of the greatest cartoonists of our age.
The account of André's experience, dictated to Delisle years later by the man himself, would be powerful enough, if depicted in prose alone. But Hostage is a comic, and it's Delisle's art — his character design, his use of page and panel layout to underscore the mind-numbing sameness of solitary confinement while controlling the story's mood and pacing — that makes us feel André's plight so deeply ... It's a testament to Delisle's gifts that we remain so deeply invested in André's situation, seeing and feeling only what he does, that this knowledge never registers; we keep turning pages fearfully, hungrily, plowing on along with him, vibrating in the tension between word and image, terror and hope.
Delisle’s new book, Hostage, is his best since Pyongyang. It breaks his recent formula, and in doing so beautifully demonstrates the aptitude of comics for representing time and subjective experience ... it excels in immersing the readers in the lonely and terrifying experience ... Representing this story, the bulk of which features André alone with his thoughts, is a feat of elegant visual storytelling. Hostage shows us how comics can movingly express an experience like prolonged captivity ... In making his focus narrow, Delisle departs from his earlier work, and recent comics work so riveted to visually articulating the world-historical stage. Hostage, in its beat-by-beat, day-by-day scope, is ultimately a travelogue about the power of imagination.