Lucky Luke Volume 34 – The Daltons; Always On The Run
By Goscinny and Morris
“A general amnesty puts the Daltons back on the streets, something Lucky Luke isn’t happy about. And, to make it worse, they seem to have become model citizens. It’s all an act, though, and it doesn’t take long for the stupidest quartet in the West to be back behind bars. Luke is already riding off into the sunset… But he’s not counting on a riled-up Apache tribe that attacks the penitentiary where the Daltons are locked up…”
I’ve just written a review of the latest XIII volume, and that essentially boils down to this “volume 12, same as volume 1, and that is a great thing“.
So. Lucky Luke Volume 34…. not quite the same as always….
Not quite as completely impervious to my critical faculties as XIII I feel. This volume of the adventures of the coolest cowboy around has huge flaws throughout, a plot that meanders so badly at times, twisting and turning and frankly getting just that touch dull. But what do you know, even this volume has a lot to laugh about. We’ll get to that in a moment.
It all starts off as good as usual, with the amnesty creating a few choice gags off the novelty of the Daltons being legitimately free for a change, tricking Luke into catching them, going as far as pretending to go straight to rob the town bank. And there’s a marvellous few pages playing with the idea of Luke and the Daltons dancing around each other, and a bank that can’t stay put…
That just cracked me up, but as soon as we get past this everything rather wanders off with the Daltons heading into Apache territory, and the plot rather loses itself somewhat in the setpieces, with Goscinny making some very uncharacteristic errors, creating a storyline that, just this once, just doesn’t flow at all well. I suppose even the master has his off-days?
But although it might have been a bit difficult to really get into, and a bit of a struggle to read and enjoy, it did have a series of great gags running through it, especially the first 20 something pages. So although the plot just felt flabby and a little dull, the gags kept me going to the end this time. Gags like this one, a great example of Goscinny’s sense of timing, setting up a gag and delivering a couple of pages later…
The setup: Rin Tin can gets put on the case….
Two pages later, with the Apaches at the walls…. the pay-off:
Not a classic Luke story, but classic Lucky Luke moments. The gags and the comedy timing saw me through.