Final Part of our Writing Competition! Tornado No 19: Battle on Asteroid X44

Belardinelli contributes the last of the It’s Your Turn covers. I wonder what the story is there – this series of cover story covers hasn’t lasted as long as the Supercover Sagas did, perhaps they realised that the characters appearing in a comic are more likely to lure you in than completely unrelated things? This particular cover has an asteroid, astronauts, a space ship and aliens. Guess which of those elements is most interesting (hint – it’s Belardinelli we’re talking about here). p.s. as the logo incorporates the issue number – we’ve finally gotten to the logo I’m using to represent Tornado.

The Big Editorial . E promises some really exciting covers in the future. He has three weeks before it merges with 2000AD, let’s see, shall we? After a full page last week, Smile with Sam! is relegated to a single panel – though I’m sure I’ve seen the name Yannakis Constantinou before – perhaps they’ve contributed to a previous issue, or one of Starlord or 2000AD?

Writer Tufnell is joined by John Richardson on art for The Lawless Touch this week, and the ace thief’s latest mission is to steal a car from a lock-up in South London (near Battersea by the looks of it). It’s a pretty light story about forger’s plates, apparently created by the son of a forger friend of Johnny’s. This would-be forger has gotten into bad company with a thug known only by Johnny’s name for him, ‘Meathead’. Not Richardson’s best art – he’ll do better on Mean Arena in 2000AD and Terror of the Cats in Scream!

Storm from Goodall and Kennedy has the mountain boy accidentally leap on to rail tracks (he thought a stream ran under a bridge, as in his beloved Highlands). I predicted last week that the moment somebody gets close to rails in fiction, a train turns up – even if the train is once an hour or once a day. That doesn’t quite happen here – instead Storm lands badly and gets knocked out by the fall. Kane goes back to the lodgings and waits for Storm. An hour later Skarr turns up and leads Kane to the railway track. That’s when the train turns up. Tornado isn’t brilliant for quotes, so Kane’s closing words may well make the grailquote section (but only for cheesiness and predictability).

Is this the last of Victor Drago’s Black Museum of Villains? I only ask because they’ve gone for Adolf Hitler this week – and what true-life villain can you follow that up with? As ever for subjects within the age of photography, most of the panels in these two pages is drawn comic strip with a couple of photographs inserted in two panels. Also as with previous weeks is is completely uncredited, though I think I detect a little of either John Ridgway’s style (in the business for about six years – mostly Commando – at the time this strip was published) or Arthur Ranson (a couple of years on Look-In). The narration lays on the jingoism a bit thick, making sure we are in no doubt that Hitler was mediocre and has a total lack of strategic skills (though was also cunning). It also reiterates that the 1941 invasion of Russia was a bad move and the beginning of the end, though doesn’t explain how (with that complete lack of strategy) the two-year old war continued for another four years after the ‘beginning of the end’. I wonder if editorial had problems regarding three Germans appearing as protagonists in Wagner’s Walk, and had to do something to prove they weren’t Nazi sympathisers?

The Angry Planet: Hebden and Belardinelli play around with Markham’s on-again off-again invisibility and he manages to rescue his wife and the other Marshies, leading them down to the ancient tunnels of the original inhabitants of Mars. Meanwhile, Ralph has discovered something, and it’s shocking (so says the next week tag).

G.F. Day and Azpiri bring us Blackhawk. The main Roman army is burning Briton homes and salting the fields, while Blackhawk’s century is sent to hunt the woods for Boadicea. British comics for the main were printed on ‘toilet paper’ at the time, but the contrasts of red flames, silver armour and the green of the woods works pretty well on this centre spread. Boadicea is dead by her own hand – preferring a warrior’s death to becoming a Roman prisoner. We don’t see the body, but by the end of the episode Blackhawk is ordered back to Rome, so one way or another her brief appearance previously is all we’re going to get. Speaking of which, we see more panels of Barabba dressed as Boadicea (as punishment for disturbing her body) than we did of Boadicea herself.

Wagner’s Walk – last episode! R.E. Wright and M White wrap up the series by having Wagner find a flare gun to defend himself with, blowing the nose of the airplane off from the inside, the Nazi doctor being sucked out of the plane high over the Himalayas. Wagner and Karl keep flying for an hour (remember the front of the aircraft has gone) and make it to India, though in monsoon season so they can’t see the ground. Emerging under the clouds they happen to almost crash into the most famous building in India – the Taj Mahal – what are the chances of that? Things get a little melodramatic in the last few pages. They crash land in flooded fields, Karl dying at their moment of victory, but as a free man. Wagner heads to the steps of Cologne Cathedral to keep the promise to Gruber though at the moment that he gives up hope, his belief that Gruber died now total. But before he did that, his thought bubble showed the following: “I’ve been here hours, and all I’ve seen are the Britihs occupying troops and the man in the wheelchair feeding the pigeons.” I won’t detail the obvious, you should be able to guess… Just in case we forget that this is a British comic, Gruber says perhaps it was best that Karl didn’t see Cologne occupied by the British, but Wagner states that it’s “better the British than anyone else”.

Big E in Action! The Intruder! Only last week I mentioned that previous Big E photo strip, and now here comes another!

Victor Drago and the Killer from Goblin Loch concludes, and like the archetypal Scooby Doo episode, it was the manager of the hotel trying to drum up business by faking a loc* Goblin Loch monster. Mike Dory drew a few spot illos, the mystery writer is a mystery.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith by Tom Tully and Vañó sees Earnest take to the stage. As you’d expect, Wolfie out-performs Gosnell’s expectations though Wolfie loses his temper when an audience member accuses him of being a fraud. Wolfie suspects the audience member of… something… and attacks him – I’m hoping we’ll find out what this something is next week – though at least one story in the course of this blog has had the same cliffhanger used in multiple weeks…

Grailpage: I realise that the actual pages would be in black and white with the colour added at a later stage, but for a change I’ll pick Azpiri’s opening to Blackhawk this week.

Grailquote: S. Goodall, Andrew Kane: “An Inter-City express! There’s no way I can reach Storm in time! No way at all!”

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