Review by Ian Keogh
Rod Hooper has been a prolonged problem for Wayne Shelton, leaving him dead in Vietnam during the war there, and in the present day thirty years later killing the man who considered himself Shelton’s son. In Thierry Cailleteau’s plot for The Survivor we saw how in the past Shelton had tracked Hooper without success, and eventually given up on revenge. Now he has a second opportunity and greater cause. Hooper’s been engaging in piracy around Indonesia, and that’s where Shelton heads.
The local colour is expertly provided by Christian Denayer in his neat style, and as always with his art there’s no questioning what’s happening on any given page, nor who it’s happening to, as Denayer distinguishing the cast well. What’s interesting is that everything is there in Denayer’s art and it looks good, but you’d be hard pressed to pick out a page by him if laid alongside several other Franco-Belgian artists working in a similar style of cartoon realism.
Cailleteau has a tendency to let Shelton explain himself to people as he goes along. To some degree it’s a necessity of crime and action fiction, but in places it’s too obvious. However, in other places Cailleteau will manage to pull one over on readers, and the that’s where the balance lies. The action revolves around Shelton’s desire for revenge, and the intricacies of modern day piracy, which isn’t as random as it might seem. He twists the plot, then pulls the rug, and when the final scenes arrive they pack in the required action. What’s perhaps missing is some needed tension. With the series named after Shelton he’s never going to come to any long term harm, but there’s not single point over The Vengeance where he’s not completely in control.
The back cover promises The Hostage as coming soon, but several years after The Vengeance appeared, there’s been no sign of it in English.