Captain Scarlet was Gerry Anderson’s indestructible hero. He’s certainly survived the ups and downs of popular culture and now, more than 50 years later he’s back again. This time in Captain Scarlet: Operation Sabre, the first publication from the newly-launched Anderson Entertainment.
Captain Scarlet: Operation Sabre is an action-packed adventure which once again has the good Captain trying his utmost to defeat those pesky Mysterons. This time Captain Scarlet finds himself on the run following the proclamation “By order of the Word Government-Captain Scarlet is under arrest!”. From then on, it’s a non-stop series of cunning escapes, fist-fights and explosions, lots of explosions. There’s a mant familiar faces from the original TV series, from the high-flying Angels to the forces of SPECTRUM, but there’s also clearly an attempt here to include a mixture of intrigue and relentless action a modern audience has come to expect from the Mission Impossible series of movies.
This first in a new series of Captain Scarlet comics is the brainchild of Jamie Anderson, son of Gerry Anderson, the creator of not only Captain Scarlet of course but also Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Terrahawks and Space 1999. The writers are Chris Thompson and Andrew Clements, both life-long Anderfans with Thompson also having experience working with Big Finish on Doctor Who and Starcops projects.
Conor Flanagan captures the exciting, blockbuster nature of Operation Sabre. I’m sure there are many readers with fond memories of Captain Scarlet comics of yore from the days of TV Century 21. At that time a more painterly style was in vogue and artists such as Mike Noble, Ron Embleton and Frank Bellamy’s illustrations brought many of Anderson Sr’s creations vividly to life. Flanagan doesn’t try to recreate that here instead opting for a more contemporary style. Colour is used very effectively throughout (as you might expect in a story where the main characters are part of an organisation called SPECTRUM) and oddly the vivid reds and purples and detailed line-work put me in mind of late eighties’ 2000AD strip Indigo Prime when a nascent Chris Weston was working on it. The change in art style might be jarring for some but Flanagan is a strong visual storyteller and his enthusiasm for his subject matter is clearly evident.
If I was being critical of the story it might be that it gravitates very much towards plot and action rather than character but then I think it’s action and adventure that most readers are going to be coming for here! There’s over 100 pages of material here with fact files and behind-the scenes sketches adding to the overall package. As a first publication it’s a success for Anderson Entertainment. Here’s looking forward to Space 1999!