By Morris & Goscinny
There's a distinctly different feel to this twenty-seventh volume of Cinebook's series, so a little bit of research turns up the reason why. This is just the second volume that Morris and Goscinny worked on together (Morris had created some before the partnership began) which explains why some long-running gags such as Jolly Jumper talking are not present. The humour is still there to see, with slapstick and gags a-plenty, but it hasn't yet settled down into the slicker rhythm of the later books.
The book begins by introducing Joss Jamon and his nefarious gang of ne'er-do-wells, moving from town to town and blitzing them of money and valuables. Luke stumbles upon the aftermath of one of their crimes, only to be accused of being an accomplice by one of the gang incognito amongst the crowd. Luke is hauled off to the nearest tree and the town prepares for a lynching, but Luke uses his charm and some twisted logic to secure his release by suggesting he'll bring the real trouble-makers to justice or turn himself back in for the hanging in six months.
By the time Luke catches up with the gang they are systematically taking over Frontier City, so Luke's going to have his work cut out tackling them all and bringing them to justice.
Interestingly, various desperadoes make cameos, including Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Calamity Jane, all of whom we meet in later Lucky Luke books in very different guises for full comic potential. Also featured are the mysterious Dalton Cousins, setting the scene for the story that originally followed on directly from this one, but who us Cinebook readers will be more than familiar with already.
Both creators are still finding their feet with regards to the characters and storytelling, but this is by no means a lesser book for that - it's just a little different. It will certainly satisfy all Lucky Luke fans and please new ones. And if you liked that:
If you're a younger reader reading this and you've never experienced the wonderful Asterix books, then you'll love them if you enjoy Lucky Luke.