Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (#1 – 2) – Chris Schweizer

3 out of 5

I have to wonder: who is this comic for?  The Disney line of comics isn’t necessarily aimed solely at young readers, as their various Duckberg titles and adaptations like Star vs. the Forces of Evil will have adult appreciators, but I would say that all of the books are definitely kid-geared, with potential appeal to further demographics.  Pirates of the Caribbean is a funny film series in that its been PG-13 from the get-go but is full-on marketed with the expectation that youngsters are going to see it, so with that – and the Disney Comics logo – in mind, one would assume this comic would be a safe bet for those same youngsters.  And I think Chris Schweizer, creator of some stupendous youth-geared, cross-generational appealing stuff in his Crogan series and The Creeps, was intending just that.  But I’m left a little cloudy on whether or not that goal is achieved, bringing me back to my opening question.

The PoC flicks most certainly can hold the chitlins’ attentions due to their bright color palettes, excitable characters – especially Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack – and the insane action sequences.  PoC the comic, thus far, would seem to transcribe this into a slightly smaller foible-per-issue scale, with a background quest for (what else?) treasure linking Jack from squabble to squabble.  Moderately familiar with Chris’ writing at this point, the wordy dialogue patter is familiar – stepping through explanation-exposition pretty slickly, lining up visual punchlines effectively – and he has some fun mimicking the pirate banter, and Jack’s particular patois.  Unfortunately, Joe Flood’s art is not Chris’, and although the artist does an absolutely fine job of rendering clear action and distinct characters (the blend of cartoonishness in grounded settings remind me of the sorely missed Reed Gunther series), there’s not a lot of visual zip on any given page, either from the colors – mostly blues and browns – or the layouts and framing.  It all feels pretty standard.  Which makes me wonder if Schweizer’s panel directions are either lacking or perhaps just envisioned differently when he scripts them – both possible symptoms of normally doing your own art and not having to worry about it being filtered through someone else’s imagination.  But it’s not all one-sided; Flood takes zero liberties with his character models – meaning he doesn’t take advantage of having a cartoonish style to embellish things – which leaves Captain Jack looking particularly unanimated, despite his chatter suggesting otherwise.

The combined result is a comic that’s perfectly pleasant, but not exactly exciting.  Plots that should be snappy lack energy.  So, unfortunately, as it’s missing what I imagine to be the identifying marks of the PoC franchise, I can’t see kids getting too geared up to read this, and as Flood feels mismatched to Chris’ timing and writing style, the adventure hijinks kicking around don’t fully land either.  In both halves of that equation, though, I don’t sense skimping out on the effort, and again, it’s certainly not difficult to read or outright boring, just lacking.