I’m not a huge history buff; I hated reading about history in school, all the way through college. Therefore, it didn’t surprise me to learn that Jean Lafitte and Jim Bowie were pals when I first heard about this story at the BOOM! panel in Baltimore. I just naturally assumed I would already know this fact, if I had given a rip in history class. After hearing about this title (and “Hexed“) at that panel, I made a note to be sure to check both out.
The tale delivered here in the first issue of “Galveston” opens with Jim Bowie on the wrong side of some very agitated pirates hell-bent on gaining possession of the Jean Lafitte’s gold by talking control of his ship through mutiny. Following a violent skirmish, Lafitte and Bowie find themselves facing the points of more than a few swords. Cast off his ship with Bowie, Lafitee welcomes his friend to Galveston.
This first issue tries really, really hard to make the adventures of Lafitte and Bowie a hard-edged buddy movie with modern sensibilities and referential experience borrowed from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films — just take a look at the attire Lafitte wears. Once I got past that, the read was a good one, but the art interrupts the story in spite of itself. After the first eight pages were darkly rendered by Greg Scott, the latter portion of the book is more starkly rendered by Todd Herman, who provides some good moments, but relies way too much on the colorist to try to save his efforts. Those colors are well handled, but given too much dominance in the overall composition of “Galveston.” I hope that the switch in artists is resolved and that the second issue will offer a more consistent feel throughout.
That said, the book doesn’t read like a moth-bitten old history tome, but provides a story of two men who share the unspoken bond of friendship. I saw enough in this first issue to want to see the second, but in no way did I see enough to declare this an epic masterpiece. It’s a good offbeat read for anyone with a serious pirate deficiency. What future issues hold is left to be seen.