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The one with Tapioca and the Bananas,
This review is from: Tintin and the Picaros (The Adventures of Tintin) (Hardcover)
Comfortingly enjoying life in Marlinspike Hall, there 's a marked reluctance on the part of Tintin and Captain Haddock this time to get involved in another mad adventure, and one perhaps senses a similar reluctance from Hergé, eight years after publication of the previous Tintin adventure Flight 714, to run his characters through the same old paces once again. Once they all get going however, it's pretty much business as usual in Tintin and the Picaros, although it would prove to be the last completed Tintin adventure.
Hergé initially has a great deal of fun at the expense of his heroes' prevarication. The opera singer Bianca Castafiore has been arrested in San Theodoros while on a tour of South America and charged with spying offenses. Despite pressure from press and television reporters and despite the gallant words of Calculus, Haddock is the last person to the rush to the aid of the diva, believing correctly she is quite capable of looking after herself. The pressure mounts however as General Tapioca turns it into a very public challenge offering safe passage if they come to negotiate in person. Normally, Tintin and co. would be on the next plane for South America, but this time they are a bit more canny, and have clearly learned lessons from past, aware that the challenge is nothing more than an attempt to lure Tintin, as well as General Tapioca and his Picaros rebels, into a trap. Nonetheless they do make the journey and soon find their suspicions confirmed.
As recompense for putting Tintin and Haddock through the same old routines one more time, Hergé takes some pleasure in bringing back a few old faces, not only reigniting the struggle between Tapioca and General Alcazar from The Broken Ear for control of the Banana Republic of San Theodoros, bringing back the associated characters of Doctor Ridgewell and the Arumbaya Indians, but connects their revolutionary activities with the Kūrvi-Tasch regime from the fictional Balkan state of Borduria first seen in King Ottokar's Sceptre and later in The Calculus Affair, bringing in Colonel Sponz. The connection is somewhat forced, but it makes for a great deal of entertainment, Hergé finding a new way after the previous adventure, Flight 714, to characterise and make fun of villains and dictators and their mad, absurd lust for power.
Entertainment is to be found also in a few familiar places, with Captain Haddock - much to his horror - taking an aversion to whisky (with Calculus snickering in the corner of the frames), and the hilarious cockney-speak "foreign" language of the Arumbayas. The artwork is latter-day clear-line Hergé - not as pure as his early and mid-period style, with rather too many large speech-bubbles, but attractively designed nonetheless in its South American jungle and Carnival settings.