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Recap / Tintin: The Black Island

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While taking a walk in the countryside, Tintin comes across a plane with no registration number making an emergency landing. When he approaches the plane, the pilots shoot him and take off. As Tintin is hospitalized, he learns that an unregistered plane has crash-landed in Sussex, England, which prompts him to leave the hospital and go on an investigation.

On the way to Sussex, Tintin is framed for assault and robbery by the villainous Puschov, which means that while he investigates the crash landing, he has (for the third and final time in the series) to evade Thomson and Thompson, who are intent on arresting him. Tintin eventually discovers that he has stumbled onto a delivery system used by a gang of money counterfeiters with a hidden base of operations on the titular Black Island.


  • Adaptation Distillation: Ranko doesn't break his arm in the Belvision version.
  • Adapted Out: The two nameless members of the gang do not appear in the 1991 animated series.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Puschov and Dr. Müller.
  • Brandishment Bluff: The exchange is:
    Tintin: Hands up! (Two Mooks Tintin is standing behind put their hands up.) Put your guns down on the ground. And don't turn around, or I'll shoot... Come on, I said put your guns down!
    (Mook 1 puts a gun on the ground.)
    Mook 2: I... I...haven't got one.
    (Snowy picks up the gun and walks toward Tintin.)
    Tintin: Don't try turning round! Make just one move, either of you, and it'll be the last thing you do! (Tintin slips and falls.) Oh!
    (The two Mooks turn around.)
    Mook 1: Tintin! (The Mooks run toward him.) And he wasn't even armed!
  • Breakout Villain: Dr. Müller is just one member of the gang of counterfeiters, though he probably has the most screentime. Despite this, he is the only one to return in future stories and is even the Big Bad in Land of Black Gold.
  • Buzzing the Deck: The baddies do this to Tintin and the Thom(p)sons on the airfield.
  • Chained Heat: When Snowy finds the handcuff key while Thomson and Thompson are asleep, Tintin handcuffs them together. They aren't antagonistic to each other but keep getting hampered by the handcuffs.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The entirety of the bandits' operation.
  • Convenient Cranny: Tintin manages to evade Ranko twice by fitting through an opening which the gorilla is too big to fit through.
  • Counting to Three: A goat stops the countdown for Tintin to "jump off the cliff or be shot".
  • Delicious Distraction: The Angry Guard Dog chasing Tintin gets distracted by Snowy's bone.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Thomson and Thompson mistakingly order an untrained engineer to fly a plane for them, resulting in them being stuck performing various accidental flying stunts without being able to land, much to their horror, then blundering into an aerial display competition, which they win.
  • Haunted Castle: The inhabitants of Kiltoch think the castle on the Black Island is this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ranko the gorilla torwards the end.
  • He Went That Way: When Tintin is disguised as an old man, he misleads the Thom(p)sons this way.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • At one point, Snowy remarks how silly it is for the gorilla to be scared of a little dog, only to run away in terror from a spider the next panel.
    • The old man in the Scottish pub warns Tintin off the Black Island, but when the papers are interviewing him at the end, he makes it sound as though Tintin was faint-hearted and he was the one who encouraged him to go.
  • Inspector Javert: Thomson and Thompson. You'd really think they'd have caught on by now...
  • I Surrender, Suckers: When Tintin has him at gunpoint, Puschov drops down on his knees and begs for forgiveness, only to use the proximity to sweep Tintin off his feet and escape.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The airplane Thomson and Thompson commandeer stays in the air for two days. That's a pretty big fuel tank. Justified, as it's Played for Laughs. note 
  • Killer Gorilla: Ranko the gorilla is the mysterious "monster" of the island. He is trained to act like an Attack Animal by the villains.
  • Low Clearance: Tintin has to duck a tunnel while on the train top.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The baddies intent for Tintin to jump off a cliff, prompting the latter to assume that this trope is in play.
  • Master Forger: In his first appearance, recurring villain Dr. Muller is the forger of a counterfeiting ring, creating fake banknotes on the titular Black Island off the coast of Britain.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • When Tintin disguises himself as an old man to lead Thomson and Thompson astray, Snowy chases a cat through the window, knocking Tintin's disguise off.
    • Later Snowy incites a goat to chase him, knocking over Puschov before he can shoot Tintin. However as he continues running away from the goat it knocks over Tintin, allowing the crooks to escape.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Tintin jumps from a bridge onto the train the counterfeiters try to escape in.
  • Rail-Car Separation: Tintin is pursuing the bad guys on a train, but they uncouple the car between him and them, allowing them to escape.
  • Rake Take: Happens to Tintin himself, but actually works to his advantage: as he is approaching Müller's chauffeur Ivan with a gun, he steps on a rake, but as he is hit by it, he accidentally fires and shoots Ivan's hat off, scaring him into submission. Then when Ivan realizes that Tintin has been knocked out and approaches him, Tintin wakes up and uses the rake to knock him out.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Puschov has a Right-Hand Attack Gorilla named Ranko.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: Downplayed. Tintin finds himself in a cave that slowly fills with water but he manages to escape in time.
  • Running Gag: Snowy gets drunk a lot in this story.
  • Setting Update: The story was originally written for Le Petit Vingtième in the late 1930s but when the English translation was colorized in 1966 it was also modernized - hence the cars and trains all come from the 60s and why Tintin is not at all surprised to see a TV. The two stories surrounding it are clearly still set in the 30s meaning that The Black Island can come across as jarring to a reader going through the stories in chronological order. It also means that Dr. Müller (originally A Nazi by Any Other Name) can come across as an Eastern Bloc agent instead.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ranko the Killer Gorilla was inspired by King Kong (1933), which still ran in cinemas around the time Hergé drew the original magazine version of the story.
    • When the album was redrawn in the mid-60s, Müller's unnamed, moustachioed henchman was redrawn in the likeness of Hergé's friend and Studio member Edgar P Jacobs. Which also means he's a dead ringer for Blake and Mortimer's nemesis Olrik (whom Jacobs modelled on himself), down to the cigarette holder.
  • Stock Femur Bone: The bone Snowy digs up in the woods.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: Tintin is thrown into the plot when a counterfeit money smuggler's plane crash-lands in a field near where he's taking a walk.
  • Thieving Magpie: There's one involved (but with a plot twist) when the firemen are desperately looking for their garage key.
  • Timmy in a Well: Snowy alerts a fireman so he would go and look for Tintin in the burning house.
  • Train Escape: The counterfeiters get away on the train by unhooking the cars from the engine.
  • Visual Pun: The "sticky end" Tintin mentions comes in the form of a cane from behind.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Puschov does this in order to incriminate Tintin.