Sunday, August 19, 2012

Comic Review: The Adventures Of Tintin: The Broken Ear

Name of Comic: The Broken Ear
Author: Herge
What's It All About: A South American idol is stolen from a museum and replaced with a fake.  Tintin finds that the man who made the fake has also been killed but has left behind a parrot who says the murderer's name.  He tracks down the man on a ship to South America, only to find that the man is killed by other men (Ramon and Alonzo) who are also after the idol.  Tintin turns Ramon and Alonzo, who murdered the man who murdered the man (stay with me) only to find that they are friends of the man he has turned them over to, a Colonel who is corrupt.  Tintin is framed and sentenced to death.  Just as he is about to be killed, supporters of General Alcazar, who are trying to overthrow General Tapioca, burst in and release Tintin, thinking he must be a rebel like them.  General Alcazar is so impressed with Tintin, he makes him his aide-de-camp.  I'm going to actually skip ahead on this one because it is so convoluted that all I'd be doing is saying, "and then he went here and this happened" or "then these guys think this so they do this".  I mean really, this story makes almost no sense.  You find out towards the end that the idol is rumored to have a diamond in it which is why Alonzo and Ramon want it and are apparently willing to go all over the globe for it.  Tintin and the two men finally track down the real idol in an American's possession on a steamship.  They wrestle over it and the diamond falls into the ocean.  Alonzo and Ramon go in after it and drown.  The American agrees to let Tintin take the stolen idol back to the museum.  Whew! Seriously.

My Favorite Bit: In this one I really like the scenes in South America in the city of San Theodoros where General Tapioca is in charge until General Alcazar succeeds with his revolution.  Other than that...not much in this one.

Go Get It: The Broken Ear on Amazon US

Alonzo and Ramon drowning trying to get the diamond.  
Some say this may have been a hallucination of Tintin's.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Comic Book Review: The Blue Lotus

Name of Comic: The Blue Lotus

Author: Herge
What It's All About: The Blue Lotus is the sequel comic to Cigars Of The Pharaoh, which you can read my review about HERE.  After capturing a gang of drug smugglers, Tintin takes a well-earned vacation.  While visiting the Maharaja of Gaipajama, a Chinese man comes with a message from Shanghai but cannot deliver it as he is hit with a dart dipped in the poison of madness and goes crazy.  Tintin travels to Shanghai to find out what's going on.  This story is a bit complicated and I won't have room to tell it in detail, but one of the most interesting things about this story is Herge begins to use real life historical events.  Tintin foils the opium cartel and various people who help him are caught and given the cartel's "poison of madness".  He is saved at one point by a man named Wang Chen-Yee, the leader of a resistance movement called "The Sons of the Dragon".  Wang's son has been protecting Tintin and has also been given the madness poison, also called Rajaijah.  Wang tells Tintin that Mitsuhirato, someone Tintin thought was a friend, is actually a Japanese secret agent.  Our young reporter finds Mitsuhirato just as he blows up a railway line, mirroring the real life Mukden Incident.  No one is killed but the Japanese government calls it a Chinese terrorist attack and invade Manchuria. During a flood Tintin rescues another well-known character, Chang Chon-Chen from drowning in the Yangtze River.  They become friends and Chang helps Tintin avoid the well meaning Thompsons.    At the climax of the comic, Tintin discovers that the drug cartel is being run by Rastapopoulus, a man Tintin thought was a friend and a movie producer.  Tintin helps arrest the cartel and a Chinese doctor finds the cure to the poison of madness.  Chang is adopted by Wang Chen-Yee and Tintin triumphantly returns to Europe.  The fallout from Tintin's involvement with the cartel and Japanese spies leads Japan to withdraw from the League of Nations.

My Favorite Bit: This is a great comic, full of action, daring, and heroic characters.  Chang is a great companion for Tintin.  The full page illustrations are just amazing.  I like this story for it's intrigue and for it's somewhat complicated but fairly believable plot.  So, I suppose I don't have a favorite part--perhaps just the reinstating of those who have gone mad.  It's nice to see people that have been helping Tintin put back to normal afterwards.

Go Get It:  The Blue Lotus On Amazon US (Don't forget to get it with Cigars Of The Pharaoh, as they are a set!)