Crogan's March, the new graphic novel by Chris Schweizer published by Oni Press, is the second in the Crogan Adventures series. This time around Peter Crogan is the family member singled out for examination. Peter is in the French Foreign Legion, circa 1912, and he's about to undergo a crisis that will separate him from his troop and find him in extremely scary situations.
The French Foreign Legion was an incredibly romanticized organization in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Men could go there to forget...their women, their faults, their failures. Peter Crogan is an American boxer who finds himself in the Middle East during a time of high adventure. When a new captain is assigned to the troop, Crogan finds himself at a crossroads: to become an officer or to finish out the few weeks until his five-year tour of duty is done.
This is the dilemma Schweizer presents us with, all the while schooling us (and any young adults who might venture into this history-laden--in a good way!--series) about how the Middle East has always been something Westerners have coveted, whether it be the French, the British, or we Americans. At times, the writer/artist lays that bit of info down a tad to heavy. Like the first Crogan book, Crogan's Vengeance (which I reviewed here), this book begins and ends with a modern-day descendant of the Crogan clan telling the story to his two small sons. It's a neat trick, but one that goes slightly awry in this volume, when the Peter Crogan saga abruptly ends at the climax of a huge fight scene. I felt a sense of being robbed not knowing exactly what happens to Peter, but there's a definite assumption. But you can also go with the thought that Crogan was lost enough to join the Foreign Legion in the first place. Maybe he's still lost as the tale ends.
Either way, Schweizer's art is even more animated in this volume than the first (in that above mentioned review, I compared his style to "Jeff Smith on crack"). He's also toned down his expressive lettering so it doesn't overpower his equally expressive art. His use of French accents is a tad annoying at times, but that's a small complaint when measured against how much I enjoyed this book. Schweizer has latched onto a winning formula here, and Oni Press's format and price point for the series (a cheap $14.95 for a hardbound 200+ page graphic novel) makes it even more attractive. I look forward to the next Crogan saga in 2011, chronicling the 2 brothers who appear to be on opposite sides in the American Revolutionary War.