Thunderbirds: “Revolt on Jupiter”

Original run: TV21 issues #179 – 183

Artist: Frank Bellamy

Writer: Scott Goodall

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“Hey Alan, let’s take our only means of space rescue for a nosey peak at my old enemy. I’m sure no-one will need our help while we’re gone.”

For all of International Rescue’s adaptability for tackling any kind of rescue, on or off this planet, we rarely saw rescues based in the depths of outer space. Thankfully, TV21 would often step in to give us wild and wonderful strips that perhaps wouldn’t have felt at home on the small screen. “Revolt on Jupiter” is a fine example of that expansion, but it’s debatable whether it’s a solid enough adventure for International Rescue.

As the strip’s name suggests, “Revolt on Jupiter” is chock-full of deceit and betrayal as Jeff Tracy learns that his old alien rival Kranol, after decades worth of uprising against humanity on Jupiter, now appears willing to make peace with the Earth. Understandably sceptical, Jeff and Alan venture into space to visit Kranol, where they become entangled in a web of deadly deceit as Kranol becomes hunted down by his very own son, Tragan.

TV21 #
TV21 #179, the first instalment of “Revolt on Jupiter”

There IS something of a flaw in “Revolt on Jupiter” – what would happen if Thunderbird 3 was needed during Jeff’s jaunt to visit Kranol? It’s rather out of his character to use an I.R craft unless someone is in grave danger. Mind you, there was that time when Brains and Tin-Tin went treasure hunting… Additionally, the inclusion of aliens in the world of Thunderbirds was always something I found a tad jarring, but “Revolt on Jupiter” presents it’s non-humans as intelligent civilisations – it’s not quite like International Rescue go up against space monsters, that was Zero-X’s job.

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So yeah, Thunderbird 3 can float and stuff.

The strip has all the galloping excitement that was the usual standard of TV21, but at just five chapters, it feels a tad short. Nevertheless, Tragan keeps things spirited as a truly ruthless villain, who refuses to accept defeat at the hands of International Rescue, even during the finale when he and his rag-tag army of revolutionaries crash-land to Earth and all hell breaks loose.

Artwork-wise, it’s far more morose than our last space-based adventure with the Zero-X dudes. Frank Bellamy’s take on the unknown depths of space  is far darker (both figuratively and literally!) than Mike Noble’s. Noble painted his space with a tuck shop-amount of stars and gave space itself a warm blue/purple haze, whereas Bellamy’s comics landscapes are far bleaker, almost nothing but dark emptiness, illuminated only by his jaw-dropping scribbles of Thunderbird 3.

TV21 #180, the second instalment of
TV21 #180, the second instalment of “Revolt on Jupiter”

But no amount of fab artwork detracts from the fact that “Revolt on Jupiter” feels like it would be far more at home were it a Captain Scarlet or Zero-X strip and not a Thunderbirds one. Throughout, International Rescue tangle to-and-fro with Tragan and his destructive ways, but they don’t actually perform any sort of rescue. “Revolt on Jupiter” is a fun adventure but feels rather out of place for a Thunderbirds story.

Have you read “Revolt on Jupiter”? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments section below!

You can read “Revolt on Jupiter” in Signum’s ‘Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson Vol. 5: Menace from Space’ and Egmont’s ‘The Gerry Anderson Comic Collection’!

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