It’s a classic problem for all historical webcomic illustrators: the fact that Louis XIV and Marshal Villars were, for all intents in purposes, identical. Namely, fat guys with huge hair in overly elaborate clothes.
We’ll talk about the Battle of Malplaquet itself in more detail on Tuesday, but for the moment we can just chat about its place in the larger picture of the War of Spanish Succession. Louis had been, by fits and starts, pissing off pretty much everybody for half a century and basically had gotten away with it, adding little territories here and there in between his larger wars of expansion.
It was a vicious cycle: The war to expand has bankrupt the treasury – the only possible way to make up the deficit is to expand and thereby increase our revenue – come, to war!!
Malplaquet (1709) was huge in this respect. The French left the field, but sustained only half the losses of the Allies attacking them. After that, the Allies could never QUITE follow up, and the French could never QUITE overcome the check. So, a half dozen years later, the peace was such that nobody was particularly satisfied. Louis got his Bourbon on the throne of Spain, but it was a carved-up Spain and soon drifted entirely out of Louis’ control, rendering the decade of death and financial hardship that it cost him almost entirely for naught. So, that blew…
– Count Dolby von Luckner