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Serier: Tintins äventyr {Hergé} (18)

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Tintin, the Captain, and Snowy attempt to rescue Dr. Calculus who has been kidnapped by the Bordurians.
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My review as published in Tintin Books.

There's a vague consensus amongst fans and critics that "The Calculus Affair" is Herge's greatest creation. Well, in some ways that's true, but things aren't perhaps quite as clear cut.

The plot is really quite simple: Calculus invents a new technology with possible weapons applications; he is kidnapped by agents from Syldavia and/or Borduria; his friends must save him. It's the plot of [b:Prisoners of the Sun|96428|Prisoners of the Sun (The Adventures of Tintin)|Hergé|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171311640s/96428.jpg|185697] set in the richer locale of [b:King Ottokar’s Sceptre|146108|King Ottokar’s Sceptre (The Adventures of Tintin)|Hergé|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172178127s/146108.jpg|2809246], in a nutshell.

Where "The Calculus Affair" triumphs is in the artwork: never before had Herge's work been so exquisitely rendered. Everything from the crowded Bordurian streets at evening, to the pink skies of sunset and the European vistas. (Perhaps, despite all of Herge's meticulous research, this suggests that photographs have nothing on experience after all?) One suspects that after the colourless emptiness of space in [b:Explorers on the Moon|165556|Explorers on the Moon (The Adventures of Tintin)|Hergé|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172341878s/165556.jpg|159847], Herge relished the challenge to draw scenes bursting with life again. Some of his half-page frames (the crowd outside Marlinspike's gates, a Bordurian town) are lush and joyous.

Again, though, there's nothing in the plot that distinguishes this from the serialised comic strip that it was. The album breaks up rather neatly into quarters: first, a string of strange scientific anomalies with no explanation (which last perhaps too long), then an uneasy tour of Geneva, followed by a dash of political intrigue, and then a chase sequence. This had been done numerous times before, and he didn't really make any special attempt here to make the basics of the plot unique. However, I believe this to be the beginning of his late period, in which the following 5 completed works would either transform the "Tintin" formula for their own ends, or dash it completely. Here, what elevates "The Calculus Affair" is in the beauty, the atmosphere, and the interconnectedness.

From the opening page, there is a strong sense of foreboding with more than one mysterious figure stalking our heroes, and this unease fills the pages relentlessly until the opera sequence, where we're dashed into a chase narrative to climax the work. And the plot is overarching whilst also using our characters to their fullest. Various dangers loom in and out of the frame, but their motives remain consistent and it never feels as if one villain is simply replacing another in a tired formula. Also, Herge subtracts the comedy of the Thompsons (and even Calculus and Snowy, neither of whom appears for any length of time), but gives us the brilliantly blabbering Jolyon Wagg in their stead. (Wagg instantly proves himself a marvelous foil to the Captain, since - unlike many leading men of comics - Tintin is never annoyed at anyone, so can only be outraged by villainy.) Not to mention a certain infamous piece of sticking plaster...

As always, there are a couple of useless elements, but only a couple, primarily involving the cliffhangers. When the cliffhanger is "how will they survive this?" and the answer is just "oh! they survived!", it's not really good enough. Herge at his best didn't like to show the strings - note his touches of realism in explaining why Tintin and Haddock found disguises so easily, or why it is that Tintin can drive a tank - but on a few of the later pages, this gets lost. (And there is some outright silliness when Tintin drives over some mines in terror, and then we learn that the mines must have been duds. For a three-frame episode, it seems redundant.)

Perhaps this will lose a little something for children of today, who know little of an era of mounting European tensions, but then again I hope not. While Borduria very much relies on comparisons with the central Europe of the time, it comes alive and the politics within work on their own terms.

Artistically, this is an outright triumph. In terms of plot construction and consistency, it is really no more than an engrossing political conspiracy movie, but it stands on an equal footing with the surrounding albums. "The Calculus Affair" is an example of what Herge could achieve when he was working at full creativity and with great resources, and for that it deserves five stars. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 5, 2021 |
This one is a touch scattered. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
A gripping story - if a tad forgettable...? Doesn't have the same sense of place (i.e. treasure island, space, incas) that the other golden era Tintins do. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Aug 30, 2019 |
Match found in the German National Library.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
El asunto Tornasol (L'affaire Tournesol) es el decimoctavo álbum de la serie Las aventuras de Tintín, escrito e ilustrado por el artista belga Hergé.

La historia comienza con Tintín y el capitán Haddock de vuelta a Moulinsart, cuando son sorprendidos por una tormenta, una extraña tormenta que provoca la rotura de espejos y jarrones en todo el palacio. La extraña tormenta resulta ser las pruebas de un generador de ultrasonidos desarrollada por el profesor Tornasol, que desaparecerá unos días después en una conferencia en Suiza.

Tintín y Haddock se reúnen en Ginebra para poder seguir su pista, y justo cuando están a punto de liberarlo de sus secuestradores, los bordurios, Tornasol es de nuevo secuestrado, esta vez por los syldavos. Sin embargo los espías de Syldavia no son capaces de retener a Tornasol que vuelve a ser secuestrado por Borduria y trasladado a Szohôd. Finalmente con la ayuda de Bianca Castafiore consiguen rescatar a Tornasol, quien decide destruir los planos de su invento para evitar que se convierta en un arma.

En esta historia vuelve a reflejarse la tensión y rivalidad existentes entre Syldavia y Borduria, como reflejo de la situación vivida entre los bloques comunista y capitalista en esa época.
  Belarmino | Dec 25, 2015 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
HergéFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Lonsdale-Cooper, LeslieÖversättarehuvudförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Turner, MichaelÖversättarehuvudförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Janzon, Allan B.Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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