Long John Silver vol. 1
By Patrick Bérubé
July 6, 2009 - 16:30
Writer(s): Xavier Dorison
Penciller(s): Mathieu Lauffray
Inker(s): Mathieu Lauffray
Colourist(s): Mathieu Lauffray
Letterer(s): Mathieu Lauffray
Cover Artist(s): Mathieu Lauffray
Lady Vivian Hastings has been burning the candle at both ends. While her husband is in America looking for the mythical golden city of Guyanacapac, she has "met" many men and dilapidated the family's wealth. And now that she is pregnant, she must declare Lord Hastings dead and find a new husband if she is to preserve her lifestyle. But before the new marriage can be arranged, a "savage" from the new world arrive bearing news and a letter for Lord Hastings' brother. He is to sell everything left and, with the money, find a ship and a crew that can make a trip to and from South America. Knowing his wife, the letter also states that his brother is to send her to a convent. All that because it seems that after a three years search, Lord Hastings has found what he is looking for. All should be well but Lady Hastings is not a lady that can be so easily tossed away. She arranges herself to be part of the trip and with the help of her doctor, Mr. Livesey, she makes secret arrangements so a part of the crew is a certain Long John Silver and his friends...
I first have to admit that I never have read Treasure Island before. It's only after a quick Wikipedia search that I realized that I missed a lot of elements
related to the novel such as some of the recurring characters and places (the Spy Glass tavern) while reading this "sequel". Nevertheless I appreciated this comic book for many reasons.
First of all is the script by Xavier Dorrison. Even though, as I said above, I missed some elements from the original novel, the story was still very enjoyable on it's own. Most characters were properly introduced so I did not feel lost, and Mr. Dorrison added enough new characters so this comic book is not really a sequel. It feels more like he is building something new based on Robert Louis Stevenson's work. Another thing that Mr. Dorrison did very well was taking the time to properly set everything up for the rest of the series. With only 50 pages per volume a year, more or less, many mainstream European series simply skip this part in favor of a quicker plot progression. This is not the case here and it is refreshing and enjoyable. This left me wanting more and gave the series a strong foundation to build from.
The art is also very well adapted to the kind of story told here. Mathieu Lauffray is an artist that can use a wide variety of techniques and styles. For this comic
book he uses a dark and almost oppressing style while using a lot of close ups. This give the dialog weight while rendering the characters' motivations subtle but easily understandable. His color scheme is, even if not very varied, effective at adding a unique touch to the various settings. The cover is also very strong. Even if it is simple, it still conveys a certain sense of dread and does not reveal too much about the story. Speaking of the cover, some American readers might remember Mathieu Lauffray for various Star Wars covers he did for Dark Horse a couple years back.
Long John Silver is a fine mainstream European series. This first volume takes the time to build the story and the art is well adapted to Xavier Dorrison's plot. I can't wait until my public library receives the next volumes.