Asterix and the Black Gold (French: L'Odyssée d'Astérix literally "Asterix's Odyssey") is the twenty-sixth volume of Asterix comic book series, originally published in 1981. It is the second book to be both written and drawn by Albert Uderzo. The book describes Asterix's and Obelix's voyage to the Middle East. It is mainly inspired by James Bond films and biblical tales.
This story reveals one of the ingredients to the magic potion:Rock Oil. When Getafix runs out and his supplier fails, he sends Asterix of to Mesopotamia to get more
The story begins with a conversation between boars, where they discuss strategies to escape Gauls. When Asterix and Obelix come to hunt boars the boars bolt towards a Roman patrol. In the ensuing fight, the boars escape. At this time the troops return to their camp and report that the Gauls have "trained" boars to find Roman patrols. The story then cuts to Caeser in his palace with the head of his secret service MI.VI(MI.6): Devius Surreptitious. Caesar orders him to send an agent to infiltrate the village. Devius Surreptitious sends a Gallo-Roman Druid Dubbelosix. Dubbelosix and Surreptitius communicate via a carrier fly, who develops a crush for Dubbelosix. In the Gaulish village, Getafix is depressed because he has run out of rock oil, which he requires to make the magic potion enabling the Gaulish resistance to Rome.
The following day, Getafix is cheered by the arrival of Ekonomikrisis the Phoenician merchant, but suffers a stroke upon hearing that he forgot to bring rock oil. When Chief Vitalstatistix tells Asterix and Obelix to fetch another druid to treat him, they discover Dubbelosix, who successfully revives Getafix with an alcoholic tonic. Asterix determines to go with Obelix and Dogmatix to obtain rock oil from Mesopotamia; Dubbelosix insists on coming, and they set off on Ekonomikrisis' ship. Along the way, they defeat pirates and Roman warships, while Dubbelosix secretly corresponds with the Romans, to arrange a blockade. The Phoenician ship finally lands at Judea, where Asterix, Obelix, Dogmatix, and Dubbelosix disembark for Jerusalem, where some sympathetic traders help the Gauls to enter secretly, in spite of an attempt by Dubbelosix to alert the city guards. Leaving him behind, Asterix and Obelix make contact with Ekonomikrisis' supplier, Samson Alius, who directs them to Babylon as the Romans have destroyed rock oil supplies in Jerusalem.
In the Syrian desert, Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix find themselves caught up in ongoing wars between the Sumerians, Akkadians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Medes, much to Asterix's frustration. In the ensuing arrow battles, their waterskin is pierced, but they find a source of rock oil in the ground, and carry some back to Jerusalem in the repaired waterskin. There, the two Gauls capture Caesar's personal ship, as well as Surreptitius and Dubbelosix. Near the coast of Gaul, Dubbelosix seizes the waterskin of rock oil and, as he tries to force it open, Obelix leaps upon him, spilling the oil into the sea. Asterix has lost all hope, but when they come back to the village, they find the Gauls fighting Romans as merrily as ever, and learn Getafix has replaced the rock oil in his potion with beetroot juice; out of dismay, Asterix has a stroke, but after being cured with the new potion, convinces Getafix to perform experiments before testing him. Thereafter, the Gauls send Dubbelosix and Surreptitius to Caesar in a gift-wrapped box. Caesar sends them to the Circus Maximus as punishment for failure, where they are covered in honey and chased by bees, with the lovesick carrier fly following behind.
Asterix - One of the main characters as usual
Obelix - The 2nd half of the inseparable duo. Volunteered to accompany Asterix instead of staying to defend the village.
Getafix - Frustrated without one of his key ingredients, Rock Oil that's essential to his magic potion. Suffers a seizure due to shock and anger in the beginning before he gives the main characters their mission.
Dubbelosix - A secret agent sent by Caesar to bring back the formula of Getafix's Magic Potion to Rome.
Sevius Surreptitious - The head of MI.VI, a Roman espionage service. Acts as a go-between for both Caesar and Dubbelosix.
Ekonomikrisis - A Phoenician Merchant returning from Asterix the Gladiator. Playing a much bigger role this time. He forgot to send a shipment of Rock Oil for Getafix's potion, then agrees to ferry our heroes to and from the port city of Tyre.
Julius Caesar - Sent Dubbelosix as a spy upon Surreptitious's advise.
- Dubbelosix is in homage to Sean Connery from the early James Bond movies whom Uderzo decided to build this character around.
- Whereas MI.VI was in historically based on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI.6)