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Friday, 9 November 2012

In Review: Lucky Luke - The Daltons Always On The Run

Morris and Goscinny's honest cowboy and his horse, Jolly Jumper returns in Lucky Luke - The Daltons Always On The Run.

The new President of the United States announces a general amnesty for all prisoners freeing amongst many others Joe, Jack, William and Averill Dalton. However just because they are free doesn't make them any more honest and, after trying to rob the bank at Awful Gulch, they steal the money  from a stagecoach delivery to the bank and hightail it into the desert with Luke in pursuit.

Meanwhile an Apache attack on the prison frees the Daltons yet again but they are soon the prisoners of the tribe. However they are able to persuade Chief Tipi Toes that Averell is a great sorcerer and so get the Apaches to help them continue robbing people. Lucky Luke now not only has to stop the cavalry going to war with the Apaches but must also convince the Apaches that they are being used by the Daltons, however the only way he can find their hidden camp is with the help of the prison's rather stupid dog, Rin Tin Can.

This Lucky Luke book is the 34th that Cinebook have published but it was originally the 24th French album when it was published in 1964. Does it feel like it is almost half a century old? Not at all. From the vertically challenged, and often incandescently outraged, Joe to the tall and somewhat dim-witted Averell, the four Dalton brothers always ensure an enjoyable Lucky Luke book, and this one is no different. What is slightly different is that its 48 pages are made up of one short and one long tale that sort of dovetail together but must have have been separate stories when they were originally published in the weekly Spirou comic in the early 1960s due to their separate page codes in the artwork.

The first story is short, sweet and fun while the second story does rather involve a lot of back and forth between the prison and the Indian camp making it feel a little longer that it probably should be. However the dumb mutt, Rin Tin Can, an obvious play on Hollywood's Rin Tin Tin, who doesn't really understand anything that is asked of him but still manages to save the day, is a nice addition especially with the reader being able to see the his thoughts as we sometimes do with Snowy in the Tintin books.

Lucky Luke - The Daltons Always On The Run with its two part structure and reliance on the characters of the Daltons and Rin Tin Can rather than Lucky Luke himself may not be to everyone's taste, but Lucky Luke books featuring the Daltons are always worth reading and this is no exception.

• There are more details of the English language Lucky Luke books on Cinebook's website.

• There are more details on the original French language Lucky Luke on the official Lucky Luke
website (in French).

•  Cinebook will be selling their range of books including Lucky Luke at the Comica Comiket Fall 2012 Independent Comics Fair in the City Of London on Saturday 10 November 2012 and at Thought Bubble's Royal Armouries Hall in Leeds on the weekend of 17-18 November 2012.

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