Asterix the Gaul
The first Asterix! Inevitably, there are flaws: the art is fairly crude (at one point Asterix blends into a tent - he looks like he's fading out of existence) and some of the characters are under-developed. But as an introduction to the series, it's really good. It introduces the main characters, the magic potion, the desperate local Roman troops, and even Caesar himself.
There's an early sign of how Asterix and Getafix use their playful wisdom to teach others a lesson. They cook up a plan whereby they'll make some fake magic potion for the Romans. In one of the funniest moments, Asterix has problems finding someone to surrender to.
I actually quite like the story, because it focuses on Asterix and Getafix using their wits against the Romans. In most Asterix books, problems are solved because Obelix is invincible. Here, he barely appears.
There are some weird bits. It's established early on that everyone hates listening to Cacofonix.
But shortly after, the whole village is dancing to his tune and having a great time:
And why did he have bagpipes in the first bit and a fiddle later on? Anyway, Asterix books are full of illogical things that happen because the writers need them to happen.
Despite its flaws, Asterix the Gaul basically has a bye into the next round. That's because its opponent today is:
Asterix and the Picts
We have a superb, in-depth review written by top Asterix expert Alex Buchet. Here's the one-sentence summary:
My verdict, and that of most reviewers: FAIL.
Asterix the Gaul goes into the next round, where it will surely face a stiffer challenge.