Review: Blake & Mortimer – Curse Of The 30 Pieces Of Silver
By Jean Van Hamme, Antoine Aubin, Etienne Schréder
Captured and then abandoned by Olrik, Mortimer is now lost at sea with no provisions. Fortunately, he can always count on Blake. Once reunited, and with the help of some old friends, the two British gentlemen continue their dangerous mission to stop Von Stahl from resurrecting the Third Reich using the evil power of the 30 pieces of silver… a mission that will take them throughout Greece and into the very Kingdom of Hades!
Obviously this isn’t one to read before reading part 1 of the story, and possibly checking out that volume’s review as well. Suffice it to say, this volume sees everything come together in Greece, taking in the islands, doing a little potholing, getting into all manner of espionage-y stuff, until eventually it all goes rather Raiders Of The Lost Ark as both gents uncover those fabled 30 pieces of silver.
Like Lucky Luke, Blake & Mortimer is one of those comics that keeps the same general structure, switching certain elements around but always keeping things this side of comfortably familiar. Again, like Lucky Luke, it’s almost the equivalent to a much loved long running TV series. But unlike Lucky Luke, which I find I can always settle into, consume and enjoy almost lazily, Blake & Mortimer takes more effort, and sometimes I just find myself losing interest a touch.
And so it is here. The second part of the tale by Van Hamme is much like the first, staring with a bang, this time a commando raid led by Blake, and after that it settles to a more sedate pace with it maintains pretty much right to the Raiders style ending where a little action is mixed with quasi-religious hocum surrounding the Judas coins.
The big attraction with these two volumes was seeing how Van Hamme would handle the series, and I admit, part of me was expecting something wow, something matching the fun and thrills I get from XIII and Largo Winch. But I suppose I should complement Van Hamme for sticking so closely to Jacobs’ voice here. The thing is, I don’t really enjoy Jacobs’ style of storytelling. in truth, it bores me a little, and just as with part one, there were several times where boredom set in here.
And this time around, there’s not even the saving grace of the artwork to fall back on. No idea why Aubin needed an inker for some of it, but it’s nowhere near the loveliness of the work of either René Sterne or Chantal De Spiegeleer from part 1. Although there is a great game to be played called spot The Black Island reference. seriously, give this artist a boat, a few characters, and a rocky outcrop and he just cant stop.
Blake and Mortimer isn’t the pick up anytime and get into classic that I find with each volume of Lucky Luke. So many of you tell me it’s a classic. But so far the most enjoyment I’ve had from the series actually comes from Sente’s take on the characters, where it was the interplay between Blake and Mortimer and the back story of the characters that was the draw, not the adventure they went on.
I just think Blake and Mortimer is a classic I’m simply not getting. Sorry, just not doing it for me.