Red Rackham's Treasure is the twelfth book in the Tintin series. Tintin is an 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 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 previous book 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 adventure. Most of the Tintin stories are standalones, this is one of the few that are a two parter.
Tintin and Haddock set sail, but before they do they meet an eccentric named Professor Calculus. The professor is hard of hearing, and one of the tropes of the series is that he misunderstands everything he hears. Which of course sets Haddock off to no end. Calculus is also an inventor, and 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 a 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 to find later that some evidence they've had actually points a different way.
This is a fun adventure at sea and is one of my favorites. The artwork is lush and clean, easy to follow and a pleasure to look at. Today's comic artists could take a lesson from this guy on how to tell a story. And the way the trademark humor is incorporated into the artwork is amazing- sometimes you have to really look at a panel or you'll miss it! Good stuff.