The last Tintin adventure that Hergé saw through to completion, Tintin And The Picaros has divided opinion among fans and critics.
As Harry Thompson, author of Tintin: Herge and His Creation notes, somewhat disdainfully, Hergé makes some concessions to the times. Our plucky hero loses his iconic plus-fours, does yoga, and has the CND logo on his scooter crash-helmet! Prior to this Tintin and co. seemed to inhabit a permanent time warp located somewhere between the 1930s and the 1950s.
Well, I for one still enjoy this Tintin adventure, despite agreeing that these concessions to modernity weren't needed. It's certainly not the best or most engaging Tintin story, although it is undoubtedly, both visually and narratively, a 'mature' work. But, most importantly, it has all the major qualities one expects in a Tintin story: exotic globetrotting adventure with colourful characters, many familiar, some new, intrigue, skulduggery, heroism and comedy all mixed in.
Considering some of the political ups and downs Hergé lived through, his final public comment on politics seems apt: the book starts and ends with almost identical scenes. At the beginning we see one form of tyranny, the neo-fascist regime of General Tapioca, which by the end is simply replaced by another, namely General Alcazar's socialist regime. Both add up to the same thing; slums policed by the salaried henchmen of the current regime.
By this time Hergé was fed up with both Tintin (not that this was at all apparent to me when I first read this as a child) and politics, but true pro that he was, he nonetheless turned in a decent solidly enjoyable final instalment in the long-running saga.