Lucky Luke Volume 32: Rails On The Prairie
By Morris and Goscinny
“The First Transcontinental Railroad is stopped dead near its starting point, both in the East and in the West. Repeated injunctions from the president of the “Transcontinental Railroad” are having no effect: His workers are constantly prevented from working by agents of a mysterious traitor. But Lucky Luke witnesses one of the acts of sabotage and stops it. Soon, he is in charge of security for the entire westward push—and he will have his work cut out for him!”
After being bang up to date with Volume 31, with 2010’s Lucky Luke Versus The Pinkertons by Pennac, Benacquista, and Achdé, Cinebook’s rather strangely haphazard reprinting schedule takes us we’re way back to 1957 with the very first collaboration on the Lucky Luke character between writer Goscinny and artist and creator Morris.
It’s interesting in an unexpected way, this out of publication order reprinting. Volume 31 gave us a look at a modern comic team working their hardest to create something very, very good, and very, very similar to the best of Goscinny and Morris. Whereas here we have Goscinny and Morris at the very start of a collaboration that stretched across 29 years. So in some respects it’s no surprise that this volume feels about as close to a “classic” Lucky Luke as the more recent volume by Pennac, Benacquista, and Achdé did.
This is not to say it’s without merits, in fact the merits, as always, are there pretty much from the get go. This is, after all, Lucky Luke, the man who shoots faster than his own shadow, and lots of familiar things are here from the volumes prior to this with Morris writing and drawing.
There’s only hints of the tightness between Goscinny and Morris we’ve come to appreciate here. Lots of gags certainly, and much to guffaw at, as Luke steers the railroad through warring towns, Indian trouble, and the unwelcome attention of the bandits hired to stop him and his railroad at all costs. But it’s nowhere near as smooth as I’ve come to appreciate, not in the writing, nor in the art.
However, despite it feeling somewhat raw and uncultured compared to later Luke volumes, there’s a lot to enjoy as you may expect.
And there’s definitely that sense of greatness waiting to happen. I’ll leave you with one panel that had me falling off the chair with the absolute genius of the idea…
Goscinny & Morris and Lucky Luke, pretty much a guarantee of a good read every two months from Cinebook.