Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Red Rackham's Treasure

Red Rackham's Treasure (Tintin, #12)

Red Rackham's Treasure is the twelfth book in the Tintin series by Herge. Tintin is the intrepid reporter who investigates various mysteries around the world, getting into all kinds of trouble in the process. Aided by his faithful dog Snowy and an eccentric cast of supporting characters, these are a lot of fun and hold up well even though they were written decades ago. They are characterized by clean artwork, humor and involving plots.

In this one Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock are in search of lost treasure.Haddock's ancestor had done battle with a pirate named Red Rackham, and his ship the Unicorn had sunk somewhere at sea. In The Secret of the Unicorn some parchments were found with a riddle that gives the location of the treasure- and now Tintin and Haddock think they know where to look. So this is a continuation of sorts of that earlier story. Most of the Tintin stories are standalones, this is one the few that is a two parter.

Tintin and Haddock set sail, but before they do they meet an eccentric named Professor Calculus. Calculus is hard of hearing, and one of the humorous tropes of the series is misunderstanding of basically everything he hears! Which of course sets off Captain Haddock no end. Sure enough being also an inventor, he comes up with a submarine prototype to aid them in their search. Tintin and Haddock are initially not interested, so Calculus stows away aboard their ship.

Thomson and Thompson are the intrepid (and bumbling) detectives who also often appear in the series, and they are assigned to protect Tintin after news breaks that a criminal from the previous book has escaped. So our cast is in place and off they go in search of treasure. Missing supplies soon lead them to the stowaway Calculus, and after Haddock blows a gasket they settle down to treasure hunting. They eventually find the island they're looking for, and after encounters with parrots (who have a rather colorful vocabulary) and hungry sharks, they begin to dive in search of the Unicorn.

Unfortunately after various mishaps and more shark encounters, they come up empty on the treasure (although Haddock does find lots of rum) and finally call a halt. After another visit to the island and another dead end, they head for home- only find later that some documents they did find are an important clue. They do eventually find the treasure, naturally, but not where they expected!

This is a fun adventure at sea and on an uncharted island, and while it may not be the best Tintin it is one of my favorites. The artwork as always is lush and clean, easy to follow and a pleasure to look at. Today's comic artists could take lessons from this guy on how to tell a story.And the way the trademark humor is incoporated into the artwork is amazing- sometimes you have to really look at a panel or you'll miss it! All in all these are great stories from an earlier time, they take you around the world and they entertain as well. Good stuff.

My other Tintin reviews can be found here.

The Castafiore Emerald
The Crab with the Golden Claws
Tintin in Tibet
The Black Island

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