The Voronov Plot is the second Blake and Mortimer book I've read after The Gondwana Shrine. This one is earlier in the chronology of the series and revolves around a Soviet rocket launch that goes bad, with the rocket falling back to Earth after hitting some meteorites and becoming contaminated with strange bacteria. Kind of a sketchy plot, not so much the alien bacteria bit but the way the rocket just happens to become contaminated, but I guess I need to overlook that and move on. I'm still early in my exploration of this series but I've read that this episode is more of a straight up espionage tale and has less science fiction elements than most of these do.
It definitely has all the espionage chops- I mean we have a story set in a kind of alternate 1950's I guess? With Cold War tensions and all the things we're familiar with- and this one brings the car chases, spies and double agents, betrayals and all that stuff. I liked it though- the art is a clear style that is the hallmark of French and Belgian comics- at least the ones I've tried. It's a very cinematic way of storytelling and may seem a little throwback by American standards but I for one like it and enjoy being able to see what's happening!
So many comics these days have stylized art and abstract styles that frankly just muddy the picture. Not so here. And the story is pretty taut as well, with Blake and Mortimer doing their stoic best to avert disaster as a renegade KGB madman uses the space bacteria to develop a nasty bioweapon. The method of delivery is fairly insidious as well, and this story kept me turning pages. I found myself caring for some of the secondary characters caught in the crossfire as well, especially agent Wardynska who is wounded while escaping a meet gone wrong. She showed up in The Gondwana Shrine so I knew she'd make it, but I was still worried!
So all in all this was a good one. Not as strong for me as The Gondwana Shrine but still a good pick. These books are very similar in appearance and tone to the Tintin books, with less slapstick humor and somewhat more serious, science fiction- influenced plotlines, but they're a great read and lovely to look at.