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!)

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