If you had a pirate in your family tree, I’m betting you’d be begging to hear all the stories. Who wouldn’t? This beginning of a series of period adventure stories tracking the genealogy of the Crogan family is just how this one ancestor Crogan turned pirate. With sharp artwork, a knack for suspense, and a hero who always stays on the windy side of the “right” side, Crogan’s Vengeance is an engaging, quick-witted pirate yarn.
The titular Crogan starts out in 1701 as another nobody in the British Navy, content to do his part and try to keep out of the way of an unstable captain. The captain’s bouts of violent punishment for imagined crimes, however, grates on the crew, and mutiny is in the air. Crogan, perceptive and clever, tries to defuse the coming explosion of rebellion, but he also knows he can only delay the inevitable. All too soon, caught in a pounding storm and appalled by the captain’s indifference to his mens’ lives, the crew mutinies and prepares to take over the ship. Whatever respite a change in command might have brought the Vengeance’s crew is immediately lost when the mercenary pirate Matthew Cane arrives, known to murder any sailor who won’t agree to turn pirate. The crew, desperate to avoid slaughter, plays on the captain’s desire for their ship to stop the fight before it starts. Crogan convinces Captain Cane to try out a plan to capture another prized ship knowing everyone’s life hangs on the success of his ruse. From that battle on, Crogan inspires both respect and resentment with his clever strategies and insistence on smarts over greed and violence. While the canny men in the company admire his quick wits, the bloodthirsty bristle at his good-natured intentions, and soon Crogan is again fighting for his life.
Crogan’s Vengeance is a welcome addition to the titles appealing to older kids, tweens and teens….
By Chris Schweizer
Oni Press, 2008