Long Haul

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Eduardo Barreto
176 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of the biggest films of 2001 was Ocean’s Eleven, a movie with a ringleader organizing one of the biggest heists ever. It’s easy to compare Antony Johnston’s and Eduardo Barreto’s The Long Haul to Ocean’s Eleven, but not for the obvious reason. Heist stories are a dime a dozen, but what these two really have in common is that their main characters have incredible charisma and charm. That’s what’s going to keep your interest; the sheer likeability of the cast.

Cody Plummer went to jail for five years thanks to an earlier heist gone wrong, but when he hears about the Union Pacific train with its millions of dollars on board about to head through the area, it’s a temptation that he can’t resist. If he can pull this off, he’ll be one of the richest men in 1876. But to really pull off a haul this size, he’s going to need a little help from some friends…

Johnston’s script for The Long Haul has just the right pace for me; rather than leaping headfirst into the big heist, he lets the story unfold at a natural pace, letting us first meet Cody and then watch the gathering of associates begin. The story really hinges on us wanting to see if Cody succeeds or fails, and Johnston recognizes that, showing him as the sort of individual who could charm the socks off of just about anyone. We see a lot of Cody through his interactions with his associates for the heist as well; his lure and approach to each of them is different and shows both his understanding and his relationship with them. And when the robbery actually begins, well, it’s a fun sequence of events in its own right, with just enough tension to make sure you never know if everything’s going to fall into place, or merely into pieces.

Barreto’s art is just the kind that begs to be attached to a good Western script, and that’s just what we get here. As much as I liked his work on Union Station, I think Barreto’s even stronger here. When you first see Plummer in a snappy outfit and the hidden edge of a smirk on his face, Baretto’s nailed the character perfectly for the audience; you know how you’re supposed to feel about him, and what kind of person he is. Barreto’s art actually reminds me a lot of Joe Kubert’s art here, with the way he draws characters and their stringy hair and long faces; it’s a very strong, bold storytelling style and it suits The Long Haul well.

The Long Haul is one of those books that’s just fun from start to finish; I really have no complaints about it at all. The Long Haul is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Johnston’s graphic novels have been nothing but good at Oni Press, and this is just further proof to that statement.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

Comments are closed.