Despite being small for his age and undernourished (his mother chooses not to eat so that he can have her food, but it's just not enough), Adrian dreams of winning the annual martial arts tournament in his small town. Master Jansen, his teacher, is hard on him, and worse, he's been paired with Vlad for the tournament, and Vlad always get a sick stomach and has to bow out on tournament day. This tournament is no exception, and Master Jansen tells him he'll have to wait and compete next year, but —
Richard Aldana is a mysterious stranger. Where did he come from? He seems to have materialized in town, and knows nothing about the tournament's rules — not even that it's a foul to interrupt your opponent in the midst of a magical summoning — but he's sure that he wants to fight, if only he could find a partner. When he overhears Adrian's mother commiserating with him, he sees his opportunity and steps in and offers to partner with the small boy.
Though Adrian's mother is skeptical and Adrian's master isn't sure about this muscled stranger, neither can bring themselves to break Adrian's heart, and so it is that Adrian and Richard Aldana become unlikely match partners, fighting their way through all the way to the quarter-finals — when tragedy strikes!
Drenched in matter-of-fact magic and incredible action sequences, and filled with likable, scrappy characters, The Stranger makes it easy to see why this comic earned so much fame in France. And it ends on a hell of a cliff-hanger, so much so that I actually tried dusting off my horrible high-school French on the untranslated volume two, which was cool, but I still can't wait for the next English volume.