The Blue Lotus
While not technically one of the "two-parter" stories (i.e., Unicorn/Rackham, Crystal Balls/Prisoners, the Moon adventure), Blue Lotus
IS essentially a direct continuation from Cigars
, and a damn good one. Hergé struck a great balance in this album between action, humour, political commentary, and, most importantly of all, a human element that the previous books have lacked. Between the Wang family and Chang Chong-Chen...well, this is great stuff.
As a kid, I don't think I appreciated Blue Lotus
quite as well as I do now, but that might have been because the art was less sophisticated than almost every other book in the series (that we owned at the time). Now, I'm less bothered. It doesn't detract from the storytelling in the slightest, and it is
a solid story. It provides a satisfying conclusion to the opium-smuggler and "Poison of Madness" arc from the previous book, and while there are a number of stereotypes, Hergé's treatment of the Chinese (less so with the Japanese characters) is borderline admirable. The real-life Chang Chong-Chen (Zhang) had everything to do with this-- and from Blue Lotus
on, Hergé did a much better job representing the different countries (and cultures therein) of the exotic locations that Tintin visited on his adventures.
Mitsuhirato will always stand out to me as one of the more threatening Tintin villains, perhaps even more-so than Rastapopoulos, who becomes something of a buffoon in later books. On top of that is the threat of Rajaijah juice itself-- seeing the effects on poor Didi is much more unsettling than what it did to Sarcophagus and Zloty in Cigars
...but also somehow still hilarious, which is why I drew what I drew (not an exact replica of a panel this time, ohnoes!).
Anyway, remember that human element I mentioned? Well, let's just say, when I read the end of the book or watch the end of the episode, I cry. If a Tintin book can do THAT, it's aces. I know I didn't go into great detail or give too many examples, but it's just...overall...really good. Trust me.Promo0102
--04The Adventures of Tintin is © HERGE/MOULINSART S.A. estate; I will not be personally profiting from ANY of this art