In Review: Captain Scarlet – Spectrum Agents’ Manual

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - Cover

By Sam Dunham, illustrated by Graham Bleathman
Publisher: Haynes
Out: Now

The Book: The SPV, Angel Interceptor, Cloudbase and associated Spectrum and World Security vehicles, detailed in cutaways… This fascinating manual is a technical guide to Spectrum, the global security service of 2068, and features background information, a history of its creation, profiles of leading agents, confidential details of Spectrum’s most valuable weapon in the fight against the Mysterons, and fully annotated cutaway drawings of Spectrum vehicles.

The book finishes with comprehensive Mission Files, making it the complete and essential manual for all Spectrum Agents.

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - Cloudbase

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - Angel Launch
Image © ITV

The Review: Whether you grew up when Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons first aired in the 1960s or watching subsequent revivals, this latest faux Haynes Manual is a gem of a guide to the show.

Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, unlike Thunderbirds, ITV have sadly not yet chosen to reboot the show. But it still holds a special place in the hearts of many a Gerry Anderson series fan, despite its on occasion contrived concepts and darker themes, better realised, for me, in the pages of both TV21 and Countdown as a kid than the show itself.

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - SPV

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - SPV Escort
Image © ITV

Whatever your feelings about the source material, however, it was always the vehicles of Captain Scarlet that gave it its enduring appeal and in this Manual, Sam Denham and Graham Bleathman deliver a fantastic guide to them all, successfully recapturing not only the style of those dog-eared, much loved 1960s annuals with their marvellous “top secret” guides to Spectrum’s craft, but delivering a terrific guide to the show’s stories, too.

Captain Scarlet - Spectrum Agents’ Manual - Zero X

Graham Bleathman should need no introduction to downthetubes readers. He’s rightly renowned and respected for his highly detailed cutaway drawings, with vehicles from science fiction a speciality, and the cutaways in this book are among some of his finest work. The SPV, which also graces the cover, is one of his best artworks – you can almost see a Spectrum engineer tinkering away at the vehicle’s innards, this Manual at their side.

Complementing the official Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault by Chris Bentley very nicely, this Manual should sit nicely on your book shelf with the equally enjoyable Haynes Thunderbirds Manual, also by Sam and Graham.

Spectrum Is Green!

Buy it from Amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)

Read our review of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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