Tornado No 18: Drama on Devil’s Bend!

Ian Kennedy turns in a It’s Your Turn cover featuring a racing car crashing – makes a change from aircraft…

The Big Editorial is empty except for requests for readers to send content in.

The Lawless Touch has Johny being given a mission to hijack a truck that’s going to be travelling non-stop from Harwich to London. He’s not allowed to look at what’s inside. I’m still on the first page but I’m going to hazard a guess that he’ll take a look inside at some point. My bet is there’s going to be a person in there. Kelvin Gosnell and Barry Mitchell introduce us to Johnny’s uncle Sid, also known as Honest Sid… It’s pretty neat plan – they take a low-slung sports car, kill the lights and after Sid manoeuvres the car under the truck, Lawless climbs up to the undercarriage and disconnects the battery. When the driver gets out to investigate what’s happened, Johnny reconnects the battery, climbs into the cabin and drives off. Of course Johnny and Sid have a look, find it’s stuff full with about a billion pounds worth of banknotes. The sting is that (after Sid and Johnny take a few million for themselves) Mother tells Johnny that the notes are all counterfeit and were sent to Britain by a foreign state to cause financial chaos. Johnny rushes to tell Sid, who has taken some to a printer friend of his and already knows they’re fake but the twist is that he’s happy anyway, as he gets to keep the truck, worth about £25,000. This was a good episode. I wouldn’t want to read this kind of one-off week after week, but the odd one here or there is fine.

Goodall and Cam Kennedy’s Storm has the mountain boy (which is a much better way to describe him than ‘gypsy’ as some narrative boxes have used) take a similar attitude towards gaining money as to getting food in the wild (more details in the grailquote section). So, Storm steals the money and as the alarm is raised he sees Kane and tells him he has found some paper money-stuff. Kane quickly comes up with a plan and tells Storm to give him the money and run for it. Kane returns the money to the shopkeeper but the chase continues. In a Blade Runner moment, Storm jumps onto a row of cars before leaping from a bridge into the water below. Except the bridge isn’t like those passing over highland streams – this one has the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway – next week: “Express train terror!” because of course the moment anybody gets near a railway line, a train comes along, even if the trains are only one an hour (this all takes place at night, so there’s no rush hours services).

Victor Drago’s Black Museum of Villains: Jesse James. Unattributed, with a couple of historic photos on this two-page strip. Frank and Jesse James started off in the Southern Army during an American Civil War and found themselves on the losing side. To be honest, I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if Firefly was partly based on their story.

The Angry Planet by Hebden and Belardinelli. Markham arrives at the nearest ancient Martian native underground monorail station to Hellesport as the Samurai uses a laser drill to start cutting down to the source of the high speed movement detected from above ground. Having come to a cave-in, Markham uses the power of the ancient Martian native hand-held laser but still hasn’t gotten through. Cornered he makes one last-ditch by using the unknown capabilities of the ancient Martian native personal protection device, without knowing what it does. What it does is make him invisible. True to type, instead of taking full advantage of this, he punches the Samurai on the way out of the (literal) hole he’s in and makes his way to the captive Marshies. I can’t help feeling that if he hadn’t punched the Samurai while invisible then four panels later the Samurai wouldn’t be there to turn up with a gun at the end of the episode…

Blackhawk by Day and Azpiri. This week’s episode is split into two parts – the first is the rebel Briton forces charging towards the Roman lines and the first few seconds of battle, then it jumps to the end of the battle when the Britons rout and the Romans take bloody revenge on them, taking no prisoners. Blackhawk wants no part of the massacre, even going so far as to purposefully miss the fleeing Boadicea with his javelin. Incidentally, this is the first time we’ve seen Boadicea – there was another female Briton warrior a few episodes a while ago, but the dialogue didn’t support that it may have been her.

Victor Drago and the Killer from Goblin Loch Part 2 (of 3), text story, with two uncredited pictures by Mike Dorey. The murder accusation against Drago lasts as long as it takes the detective to show an identity card to the police sergeant, allowing Drago and Spencer to wander around the murder scene the following day and to spot the three who ‘discovered’ them the acting suspiciously. In the dining room they spot a face from a London investigation three years prior and it looks like he’s attempting to blackmail the murderers (still no idea what the impetus for all this is though).

Big E Picture Gallery. This is a little different to the picture galleries in other comics, as the main pictures of Big E we’ve seen have been photos, so at least when readers send in traced pictures of him they’re not copying line work from other artists, if that makes sense?

Wagner’s Walk from Wright and White. The major uses one of the oldest tricks in the book to distract the guards (pretending to suffer stomach cramps) and the guard fall for it. Stealing a truck to break the Nazi war criminal out of his cell, the Major uses the truck to tow one of the aircraft that would be used to pursue them. While von Hilder prepares the ex-German aircraft, the Major smartly uses the towed fighter to crash into other fighters, damaging both it and the other aircraft. Now airborne, all seems plain sailing/flying for the trio, though the Nazi knows something the other two Germans don’t – it’s standard practice to keep a spare pistol under the pilot’s seat. The cliffhanger has Karl shot at close range – next week: “The final part of the WALK!”

The Mind of Wolfie Smith by Tully and Vañó. Smith squares of against Whip Riley. Predictably he doesn’t fair well in the physical fight, though the tables are turned when a bolt of psychic energy pushes Riley against the bars of a cage, where Cleopatra the tiger is on the verge of killing the animal abuser. Smith saves his life by placating the tiger, then has to use the look in his eyes to let Telford the circus owner give him a chance to prove himself in the night’s performance. Some circus folk mention a curse, which Tufnell brushes off, giving Wolfie a costume to wear, including a devil mask. Next week: “Mystico & Mandrake”.

Percy’s Information Centre. The last one of these had facts and trivia – this one is all made up facts about Big E.

Captain Klep, uncredited has Clark Clep try to earn some rent money by participating in a prize fight, though is tricked into fighting a stronger fighter than first presented. For some reason Clep actually isn’t as strong as Klep when in disguise, so has to use the Klep persona to even the odds and get the match back to using the original, promised fighter. Which he fails anyway. I don’t think that’s very clear but explaining properly would take more time than I’m prepared to spend on this strip…

Grailpage: the best page this issue is Belardinelli’s laser drill starting to cut down to the monorail tunnel in The Angry Planet, with the black polished metal finish that Belardinelli will be using to such great effect in Meltdown Man.

Grailquote: S. Goodall, Storm: “Here, Skarr – to me! We go home now… It has been a good night’s hunting!” (having just stolen half of a newsagent’s takings).

One thought on “Tornado No 18: Drama on Devil’s Bend!

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