written by Chris Schweizer
Raised in a good family, “Catfoot” Crogan never planned to be a pirate when he set to sea as a sailor. But despite his best behavior, his quick mind and even quicker tongue soon get him on the wrong side of his captain. When pirates capture Crogan’s ship and take the crew on as pirates, the pirate captain insists on following the articles for just behavior. But not all of the pirates are interested in fair play. A dangerous first mate with power and riches on his mind plans mutiny and Crogan must fight to save his new life and new crew by allying himself with the very people the rogue pirates plan to rob.
Schweizer has an interesting setup for his new series. Each book is about one member of the Crogan family throughout history. The stories are told by a father to his sons as he helps them see how their ancestors dealt with troubles in their life. This first volume about “Catfoot” Crogan, a pirate in the early 18th century, come from Dr. Crogan as he tells his son, Eric, about Crogan’s experiences to show him how one can do the wrong thing for the right reason and how sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what the right and wrong things are. Thanks to Schweizer’s strong writing, the moral is not shoved down readers’ throats. Instead, he shows how Crogan thinks and acts and allows the readers to take their own lessons from that.
Crogan and his crewmates are a rough and salty bunch—exactly what readers expect from a pirate tale—but they’re also shown to be a mix of good and evil and all points in between, keeping the story a good shade of gray instead of a moralizing black and white. Crogan is not much of a talker, but his motives are clear nonetheless. It’s those around him who talk, and through Crogan’s responses to them we are shown who he is. The plot is fast-paced and action-movie exciting. There is plenty of swordplay, complex plots to win coming battles, daring feats atop tall masts, and more. There aren’t chapter breaks, but there are natural points in the story where action pauses and allows readers to catch their breath.
Schweizer’s art is cartoonish, but not gimmicky or childish. He draws with a thick ink line that adds gravity and depth to his characters and settings. The characters are drawn in a caricature style and shading is minimal, but his art is distinct enough that readers can still keep up, even when the panels are full of detail. He doesn’t neglect the gritty reality of seafaring life in the 1800s, but nothing is too graphic for a teenage and up audience. Because of the well-crafted plot, strong writing, and distinctive art, Schweizer’s series is off to a great start and should prove popular with teen and adult graphic novel fans.