The Man Who Shot Lucky Luke

By Matthieu Bonhomme
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781800440630

For my money, Matthieu Bonhomme is one of the most exciting individuals working in comics at the moment. Not just an amazing artist in his own right, he’s a gifted storyteller who understands how to hit all the right storytelling beats to deliver a tale with mystery, suspense and a satisfying ending.

It’s not an easy task to deliver a different, contemporary approach on a much-beloved character, but Bonhomme has managed it twice now. He clearly has a deep respect for the source material, to which he references often, and he never strays too far into realism that the narrative loses its reason for being. At all times, this still feels like a Lucky Luke book.

On this occasion Luke has strayed upon the community of Froggy Town and, as with all good Western yarns, something is amiss. In this case, the Sheriff is soundly unqualified for his post, and his brothers appear to be up to something. The stagecoach has been attacked and a man killed, Luke’s gun has gone missing, and he can’t seem to get a piece of tobacco near his lips no matter how hard he tries. Someone is playing Luke for a fool. That is always going to be a mistake.

Packed with interesting characters wrapped up in a genuine mystery, you’re soon sucked into the adventure as Luke tries to get to grips with what is going on. But the very opening page shows us the culmination of his investigations – he’s going to be shot dead. All these other pages are a flashback to lead us to that point. How can Lucky Luke possibly cheat his own demise? Let’s just say it’s nicely handled (I don’t think that’s spoiling anything).

Bonhomme has even gone to the trouble to colour his artwork in the same style as the Lucky Luke books, with blocks of flat colour. He uses this to such great effect, creating moody, atmospheric moments and vistas. But it’s his ability to channel Morris’s original style into his own more realistic take on the character that really makes this work. I for one am completely sold on it. 

If you’ve not taken a look at Lucky Luke for a while then now is the perfect opportunity to give the lonesome cowboy another go. Yee-ha! 

And if you liked that: Pick up Bonhomme’s first Lucky Luke reimagining (read about it here)

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