Tornado No 7: I’m going to stamp you out, Drago – once and for all!

The cover shows a scene from today’s Victor Drago episode – not looking like its in the middle of a storm, or at night.

The Big Editorial reveals that a) this is the last episode of the current Drago story and b) there will be a BIG change in the way the next one is presented. Can’t say I’m going to miss the way this one was presented (whatever that means).

Blackhawk. I’m not impressed by the first encounter the centurions make in the Black Forest. The German warriors look more like cavemen than 1st century germanic tribes – could Azpiri not get access to an encyclopaedia for a teensy bit of reference? The tortoise formation is shown, but then Blackhawk breaks out of it to go on the offensive. That’s not how the tortoise formation works – it’s supposed to inch forward so that everyone travels as one unit. Blackhawk’s best tactic to fight an archver in a tree is to chop the tree down. I know that he’s led around by a mystic hawk, but this leaves realism behind completely.

The Angry Planet: I’m hoping this will return to the centre pages once the Gallery of Heroes is complete – I miss Belardinelli’s centrespreads. The Marshie blockade of the highways continues as the Samurai arrives, bringing shock troops in tow. It has to be said, they bear a certain resemblance to cylon centurions from Battlestar Galactica… Anyway, this is all against interplanetary law, not that it matters – as Mars Inc is intercepting the news feed and reporting that the blockade is uneventful and not featuring attacks and murder at all.

Victor Drago and the Terror of Troll Island! Part 7. It’s over, and what a waste of Mike Dorey’s talents. There’s a few good panels in this, if you can see them through the wall of text, as Victor Drago explains everything. With seven episodes this could have been better. I can only assume (in the same way that Dan Dare was the star attraction of 2000AD prog 1) that Sexton Blake was intended to be the focal point of the new comic – until the rights issue led to it being reframed as Victor Drago (Blake itself being a rip-off – sorry – heavily influenced by Sherlock Homlmes). It hasn’t worked, but apparently The Flask of Doom next week will be presented in a different way. I’ve just had an idea what that way may be. The wall of text is the clue – is it going to be a text story with a few spot illustrations?

Carlos’ Gallery of Heroes continues with the Highlander and the Frnech Hussar. The Scot stands over the body of a fallen English foe while the Hussar slashes at an unseen opponent from atop his horse.

Wagner’s Walk. While the villager heads off to inform the military that the three Germans are at Doctor Petrov’s place, it turns out that the local patient has the same rare blood type as Gruber and Karl. While Karl is busy heroically giving enough blood to help both patients (no matter what the expense to himself), Wagner and a local, Mikhail, trick the Russians into letting Wagner wreak havoc in the tank, in the moments before it is destroyed by the Red Air Force. As this is the cliffhanger, Wagner must have leapt out of the tank before the explosion. Next week: “The end of Wagner?” I suspect not.

Storm manages to jump across the gorge, despite crumbling rock, ties ropes and saves the climber (this much could be predicted pretty easily). As they take the climber to the Ardnasheen Rescue Centre, Sir George Forbes has gathered a crowd, including the local press. I’m going to guess that the local press in such a small village is at most an editor, a journalist and a photographer – not that it matters as the only person we see is a shouty Forbes calling for Storm to be arrested. Seeing as the police already promised he wouldn’t be arrested if he helped rescue the climber, this seems an empty cliffhanger (besides, we’ve had a literal cliff hanging at the beginning of the page). It still says “Next week: On the run!” though – but maybe he starts running before the police say they’re not going to cave to Forbes’ request.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith. Everybody believes Wolfie to be a murderer and his only hope is escape. He uses his mind power to make a ‘super-charged leap’ – higher than any pursuers can manage, but which leaves him drained. Branded a murderer, he has no choice than to clear his name though first he must rest. While dozing he has visions of Cornelius fleeing from somebody in a jungle. My bet is that there’s a greenhouse or conservatory attached to the house, and that Wolfie is seeing a vision of the future. This story has very much a cliff-hanger to cliff-hanger structure, but I’m enjoying it nevertheless.

The inside back cover promises that Big E and the Tornado Team (the Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane analogues) will be on the next week’s cover. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that. Though the Big Editorial did have a preview, and most of the cover looked like a Tornado True Tale called Warrior.

Captain Klep shows a typical day in the lives of Klep and the Beak as they leave home in the morning, change into their secret identities (or possibly from their secret identities) – Klep to stand guard outside the First National Piggy Bank and the Beak to rob it. Following a sneezing fit brought on by Klep’s hay-fever, both eventually end up the worst for wear.

Grailpage: there are some great artists in this comic, but the stories just don’t bring out their best work. I’m going for Ezquerra’s picture of a Highlander (if we count it as a centrespread then I get a bonus Hussar too).

Grailquote: Tom Tully, Wolfie Smith: “Fuzz buggies… on their way to the Hall!”

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