Thunderbirds Volume Four (graphic novel review).

Last year, Egmont released a large volume containing ‘Thunderbirds’ stories This year, they have split these eighteen stories a further eighteen stories over five softcover volumes, with ‘Thunderbirds Volume Four’ being the fourth of five. All the art is by Frank Bellamy and mostly written by Alan Fennell. If you want to keep the big hardback for yourself, this edition is one you can leave to your sprogs.


Even if you treat these ‘Thunderbirds’ stories as a pocket universe away from the TV series, there is an odd contradiction in how advanced they are in terms of space travel and yet still have primitive superstitious tribes still on Earth at the same time in the 21st century.

Case in point is ‘The Zoo Ship’ (originally released 18 January 2069-15 March 2069) where Ocean Scientist II is picking up examples of animals to be sent to Mars preservation unit by a Professor Auldyn Beresford and who’s looking for the rare Polynesian sand vole which is believed to be on Tracy Island. The Tracy family try to look helpful, offering Beresford a bed for the night but then have to keep him occupied when the zoo ship reactor develops a fault and sinks and a rescue is needed. This is compounded with some of the wild animals getting out and the crew are trapped. Beresford isn’t quite who he seems and International Rescue literally have to go through loops to rescue everyone. After so many stories, this one also re-introduces Alan back into the fold with nary a reason as to where he’s been all this time. It also gives a chance for Frank Bellamy to show off his ability to draw animals even if a couple of the tigers are a little hungry.

‘Chain Reaction’ (originally released 24 May 2069-12 July 2069) does at least explain Alan’s return when Thunderbird 3 is needed to stop a doomed space freighter from crashing on San Francisco. The later causes a series of volcanic activity from dormancy. Thunderbird 1 is dispatched to see where the most help is needed and poor Scott is captured by one native tribe and deemed responsible and nearly becomes a sacrifice. It then becomes a necessity to move these tribes and a plan from Brains to vent the pressure means a possible sacrifice but not in the way these primitive people mean.

‘Jungle Adventure’ (originally released 19 July 2069-09 August 2069) has Thunderbirds 1 and 2 coming to the rescue of two lost explorers in the South American rain forests and the natives there. Things aren’t helped when Thunderbird 2 is captured and almost ends up in a lava flow and it’s up to Scott in Thunderbird 1 to provide the distraction.

GF Willmetts

October 2014

(pub: Egmont. 50 page softcover graphic novel. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4052-7263-6)

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