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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crogan's Vengance. Chris Schweizer. Oni Press (2008)

A most unusual, thoughtful and exciting pirate story. "Catfoot" Crogan becomes a pirate by force of circumstance and finds that he has a talent for it. Divisions within the pirate crew that he is involved in means that he has to escape and then plan his vengeance. The story is artfully constructed, the reveals are very nicely paced, the action is excellent and matched by the smart thinking that is Crogan's greatest strength. The cast are varied and very credible, the situations are enjoyably tense and the resolutions are unexpected and satisfying, the conclusion is natural and effective.

Chris Schweizer has created a pirate story that deftly mixed the harsh details of pirate life, the savage tortures that prisoners could suffer, the delicate democracy that existed on a pirate ship that regulated the relations between captain and crew. The high spirited action that any pirate story should have is present in abundance and it mixes naturally with the details of the political context for piracy in the Caribbean. The black and white art is very loose, the faces are expressive and cartoony, the details are sparse and always pertinent. The action flows with vigour and clarity, the dialogue is crisp and pointed.

This book side steps the cliches of pirate stories while capturing the essential aspects that any pirate story needs to have. A strong plot, a believable cast and superb pacing make this a hugely enjoyable book.

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