In Review: Yoko Tsuno – Message For Eternity

Yoko 10 Cover
Roger Leloup’s Japanese electrical engineer Yoko Tsuno returns in the tenth of her books to be translated into English by Cinebook, Message For Eternity.

Yoko Tsuno books tend to alternate between contemporary stories and more overtly science-fiction stories and, while the lightning, the tool wielding baboons and the ancient aircraft on the cover suggest that this could be a time travel tale, it is actually set in the present, or rather the present of its original French publication date of 1979.

Landing in France after a long distance glider flight, Yoko Tsuno is hired by a mysterious British Lord to perform a dangerous and secret flight in a newly designed glider. With her two friends Vic and Pol, Yoko survives a murder attempt after which the Lord reveals that he is actually an undercover MI6 agent. Her mission will be to pilot the glider into a mysterious crater on the border of China, the Soviet Union and Afghanistan where the remains of the Horus, a lost 1930s airliner that was carrying important British Intelligence documents, have been discovered and retrieve those documents.

Yoko 10 B
Yoko Tsuno is one of Cinebook’s more junior series where the fast paced action can often ride roughshod over the logic of the story. In the world of the Cold War MI6 hire a Japanese pilot to fly a glider designed in secret in Switzerland to find an ancient British airliner that has half century old intelligence secrets on board which disappeared on the Sino Soviet Afghan border and which was rediscovered by accident by a US Air Force spyplane pilot – whew! Yet despite all this I have a fondness for the Yoko Tsuno books due to Leloup’s breathless plotting and his lovely artwork.

Before starting his Yoko Tsuno albums Roger Leloup was part of the Herge Studio working on the Tintin albums where he specialised in the more technological parts of the stories. His interest in technology helped inspire the Yoko character while his love of aircraft, as well as his ability to accurately represent real ones and logically design new ones, shines through in this book. All the real aeroplanes, helicopters and gliders in the book, from the 1930s era HP42 biplane airliner on the cover to the Cold War-era Soviet MiG-21 fighters and the RAF Victor airborne tanker, are accurately portrayed, whilst his fictional aircraft, the U-2 spyplane based mothership and the BD-5 Acrostar inspired mini-glider, have a logic to their modifications of real world aircraft.

Yoko 10 A
Yoko Tsuno – Message For Eternity retains the fast paced action adventure of previous books in the series along with some lovingly detailed aviation art and that, for me, is a winning combination.

• There are more details of all the English language Yoko Tsuno books on the Cinebook website

• There are more details of the original French books on the official Yoko Tsuno website (in French)

• Cinebook will have sales tables at both the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal over the weekend of 17/18 October 2015 and at Thought Bubble in Leeds over the weekend of 14/15 October 2015 where they will have Yoko Tsuno titles for sale as well as many of their other ranges of translated Franco-Belgian Bandes Dessinees albums

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