cover image Crater XV

Crater XV

Kevin Cannon. Top Shelf, $19.95 (496p) ISBN 978-1-60309-100-8

In Cannon’s second full-length Army Shanks adventure, Shanks is a scarred man following the events of Far Arden. Struggling with loss and heartbreak, he is ready to buy a one-way ticket to Antarctica when developments on Devon Island change his plans: Shanks befriends a teenage girl named Wendy who is intent on raising money to join a space program in Europe, and a mysterious Siberian oil tanker called the Lunayev anchors in Canadian waters, claiming it is launching a rocket to the moon. To help Wendy raise the money for her galactic adventure, Shanks sneaks over to the Siberian tanker and discovers that the rocket is real—and he believes a woman onboard to be Pravda, a long-lost friend from the orphanage he grew up in. Soon, many more hijinks are afoot involving rockets. The Shanks-Pravda romantic storyline drags at times, but Cannon’s enthusiastic and flexible art is well suited for both the comedic highs and the dream-crushing lows of his stories, whose epic scale is made intensely human by his strong characters. Few cartoonists know better the meeting place between grief, humor, and adventure like Cannon, and this second Shanks story is further proof of his abilities as a storyteller. (Apr.)