Explorers on the Moon
To me, this installment doesn't quite live up to its predecessor, but Explorers
is still an excellent read-- it's rife with tension and suspense, and although there are one or two great moments of comedy, it is for the most part...well, dark. Very dark, to the point where I would claim that this is Tintin's darkest adventure (and I'm not referring to the great deal of black ink used in this particular story, although between the expanse of space and the deep shadows on the moon's surface, there IS a lot of blackness). There's no shortage of mortal peril, and as Tintin himself says at the end, "Well, Snowy! That's the narrowest escape we've ever had!" He isn't exaggerating.
Of course we get more hilarious stuff from the Thom(p)sons, and the Captain's drunken antics --although more dangerous than usual-- are entertaining, as well. Calculus might as well have been fitted with a "no-nonsense emulator" along with his hearing aid, but it is neat to see that when he can
hear what people are saying to him, he's an extremely bright and occasionally patronising fellow (as well as eccentric, although more subtly so). There's an awful lot of unexpected yelling in this album, though, no? Even Tintin briefly flies off the rails, putting the Captain in his place after he nearly gets the entire crew killed. I think that's only a testament to how high the stakes are in this story.
There's no way for me to talk about arguably the most important --and grim-- portion of the book without giving away extreme spoilers, but I'm assuming those who are following this little Advent Calendar thing already know what happens...otherwise, consider this a fair warning. Spoilers ahead. Plus a giant wall of text.
I already said before that Broken Ear
has the highest body count [of human characters], but those deaths are downplayed and, in at least one case, morbidly funny. Here, things are more complicated, raising more questions, leaving a deeper impression. Wolff betrays our heroes, and has been in league with the villains from Destination Moon
, but there is no denying that he does this all reluctantly and due to coercion (and cowardice). He clearly wants to redeem himself in the others' eyes, and so one has to wonder-- WAS it an accident that, during their scuffle, Jorgen was shot through the heart, or did Wolff seize the opportunity to kill him? His subsequent suicide raises even more questions: when did he get the idea to sacrifice himself? Had he planned to do so the moment he realized he could kill Jorgen and get back in the good graces of the others (and therefore have the freedom to go out through the airlock)? What would he have done if, as he had believed, Jorgen had taken control of the rocket and allowed the crew to live? Would he have turned on Jorgen eventually? Sorry for all the questions, but every time I reach this dark passage in the book (two fairly graphic deaths in the span of about two pages) I can't help but wonder these things. Wolff's death in particular is so incredibly bleak, and the Captain's reaction...hell, I'm tearing up just thinking about it again. Sue me. I'm a softie.
Sorry for the rambling (wrote more than intended!). Man, again, this is a dark book...and while the atmosphere is heavy and at times claustrophobic, it's still an enjoyable read. On a light, finishing note, I have a rather silly anecdote: whenever I look at the clock and happen to see that it's 1:34, I always, ALWAYS blurt aloud, "1:34 AM!
Not 1:34 PM!
" A strange, intense, grand adventure. Promo0102030405060708091011121314
--16The Adventures of Tintin is © HERGE/MOULINSART S.A. estate; I will not be personally profiting from ANY of this art