**spoiler alert** Based on the classic children's adventure show (starring marionettes), this novel tells the backstory behind International Rescue an**spoiler alert** Based on the classic children's adventure show (starring marionettes), this novel tells the backstory behind International Rescue and their Thunderbirds ships. We discover what motivated former astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons to create private, secret organization dedicated to rescuing people from disasters around the planet. We also learn how they meet supporting characters Kyrano, Tin-Tin, Lady Penelope and Parker. Finally, we also see how the ships and their secret base were constructed, and uncover the motivation behind recurring villain The Hood.
This books is very much a prequel, setting up the stuff fans will have already seen on the show. As a result, some elements (particularly the Hood) get set up but never quite pay off. Also, while we see the setup and get some pretty detailed descriptions of the Thunderbirds vehicles and their functions, as well as Tracy Island, we don't really see them in action that much. So it's a pretty atypical Thunderbirds story, and may appeal more to longtime fans than folks unfamiliar with the series. Having said that, I can't imagine too many people buying/reading this book who aren't already Thunderbirds fans, so that's probably not a big issue.
The author, Joan Marie Verba, is clearly one of those fans. The writing is occasionally clunky, and her detailed descriptions of the design and functions of the Thunderbirds and all the gadgets on Tracy Island certainly don't help to speed the pace. However, as the title says, this is merely the countdown to action, and it's fine that it's a slow, deliberate build-up to everything that comes next.
If I have one major criticism, it's that the characters aren't particularly fleshed out. However, I even have mixed feeling about that, since a novel based on a TV show should be true to that show. Is it a problem if the characters come across as stiff and wooden in the book, when that's what they literally were on the show? I guess the one change I would wish for is some more depth to patriarch Jeff Tracy. While we see his sons go through some trials and tests of faith, it would have been nice to have seen him go through the same sort of thing.
Having said that, when she's trying, Ms Verba really was able to evoke real emotion. Lucy Tracy's death scene actually brought tears to my eyes. Between stuff like that, and her fantastic evocation of the images of the TV series, I felt that she really wrote a successful Thunderbirds novel. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book, to see how she handles a more traditional Thunderbirds story, now that the groundwork has been laid....more
Mister X tells the story of a mysterious character, bald, wearing dark glasses and a trench coat, haunting the streets and secret passageways of RadiaMister X tells the story of a mysterious character, bald, wearing dark glasses and a trench coat, haunting the streets and secret passageways of Radiant City. The city, a futuristic metropolis in the vein of, well, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and other 30s and 40s vintage visions of the future, somehow seems to be driving its citizens mad. Mister X claims it is his job to fix things.
But why him? Who is Mister X? This becomes one of the central mysteries of the book, and while the question seems to be finally answered in the new conclusion found here, I think I need to reread it in order to fully process it. It’s all so screwy and twisty that when the answers finally come, they aren’t straightforward or easy. Which is fine; anything less wouldn’t have been satisfying.
When I was a kid, the comic didn’t really come out on anything resembling a regular schedule, so this is the first time I’ve been able to read the whole story at once. It’s every bit as enjoyable now as it was then. It’s weird, seeing the early work by the Hernandez’s here, as well as early work by Seth, who has grown so much between then and the work he’s doing in Palookaville these days.
Mister X is regarded as a seminal work, and I think it’s as much responsible for the way science fiction setting are done in comics as Blade Runner is for the movies. Certainly for me, Mister X was my introduction to sci fi noir (if not noir altogether). It’s tough for me to think of another story that blended imagery from the past with a complicated, contemporary story in quite the same way before this. ...more
In 1956, a brother and sister were cryonically frozen. Discovered and revived by another pair of siblings in 2010, they are forced to come to terms wiIn 1956, a brother and sister were cryonically frozen. Discovered and revived by another pair of siblings in 2010, they are forced to come to terms with a modern world while trying to discover what has happened to their scientist father.
Frozen in Time successfully combines the characterization of a classic Enid Blyton-style children's thriller from the middle of the last century with a more contemporary thriller. As a result, we get a great deal of humor from the difference in attitudes, while still being an exciting, compelling story. Loads of fun....more
While I've been a fan of John Byrne for years, this is the first time I've reread Next Men (arguably his best work) since it originally came out in thWhile I've been a fan of John Byrne for years, this is the first time I've reread Next Men (arguably his best work) since it originally came out in the 90s. This book, reprinting the first third of the first part of the series, still holds up well as an excellent piece of science fiction exploring how people with super powers might come to be created, and what they might be like in the "real" world. It's not a superhero story per se, in the sense that characters get powers and start fighting crimes. It's more an exploration of how having superpowers would affect someone. It's also a twisty, complex story of conspiracies and time travel, compellingly told.
Byrne takes a lot of heat for the opinions he expresses, but that's got nothing to do with his abilities as a storyteller. I love his work, and Next Men most of all. I'm looking forward to rereading the rest of the original series, and am extremely happy that he's finally going to be finishing it up!...more