Destination Moon (The Adventures of Tintin)
Created: Tue Nov 23 21:57:50 2010 | Last modified: Wed Nov 24 10:01:29 2010
"Destination Moon" is the first part of the two-part adventure which features Tintin and his friends taking on a new mission: this time the exploration of the moon, thanks to Professor Calculus' genius and the new era of nuclear technology. While this is a good album, it's the part of the story that sets up the actual moon exploration trip and is set entirely on Earth: to be more precise, at the Sprodj Atomic Research Center in Syldavia. What follows is a story of scientific research, intrigue, spying and suspense as the members of the moon mission prepare for their ultimate moment: their flight to the moon.
However, this book falls short on a few aspects. Though the humour is present, the atmosphere and mood of the book is strangely claustrophobic - most of the action takes place indoors in the Atomic research center. Though the presence of the Thompsons alleviate the mood at times through their bumbling antics (the scene where they end up arresting a medical specimen skeleton is a hoot) the overall effect is a tad heavy. As the planned manned mission draws closer, there is definitely a build up of tension. The fact that there is an unknown spy right in their midst who is compromising the safety of the entire project also adds to this feel. The one significant "action" moment of the adventure occurs when Tintin goes out into the nearby mountains to try and unearth the parachuted enemy agents who are apparently lurking around somewhere to contact the inside spy. How they eventually escape from the security area around the Center and get back to their own country with the compromising documents is unknown and remains a gaping plot hole.
Professor Calculus has his moments. Far from the absent-minded, eccentric little inventor with his dowsing pendulum as seen in previous appearances, he is portrayed here as a hard-headed scientific researcher (albeit with the same eccentricities), active, energetic and with an explosive temper that really shocks even Captain Haddock. His ear-trumpet does provide some comic relief early in the adventure (note the switch between the trumpet and Captain Haddock's pipe which leads to hilarious results) but he switches to the more reliable hearing aid for the purpose of the moon trip.
As usual the drawings are excellent. Herge does a great job in (with the limited scientific advancement at the time of this work) portrayal of the actual details of the space rocket. The details of the atomic research which went on around the 1950s are also reasonably accurate. The ending is a suitable cliff-hanger for the follow up adventure, "The Explorers on the Moon".
All in all, enjoyable to Tintin fans and casual readers alike for its portrayal of scientific developments and space research around the time in which it was written, but as a Tintin adventure it falls slightly short on the action and some plot elements.
I give it 3/5. Good reading, but not the best Tintin out there.