"Fireball XL5" is the last photonovel about Gerry Anderson's classic series.
I mean the ones produced for ITC and made with the help of a real "dream team": Derek Meddings for visual effects, Barry Gray composing unforgettable music scores, and Anderson's wife, Sylvia, who supervised all the productions using her particular good taste and skill.
This team slowly separated in the seventies: Derek Meddings begun to work in the big movie industry after "U.F.O." (1970), Barry Gray left the company after "Space: 1999" first season, and Sylvia Anderson divorced after the second one. Gerry Anderson would have very difficult years (and he also had to sell all the rights of his masterpieces), which just in 2005 seem to be ended with "New Captain Scarlet".
Being a quite childish production, "Fireball" shows some sort of evolution confronted with "Supercar".
The puppets are always quite caricatural, but anyway seem a little more realistic and good looking: the star Steve Zodiac looks rather similar to Flash Gordon but no problem about that.
Then there is at last a female character: Venus, clearly Steve's love interest, who was voiced by Sylvia Anderson.
By the way, the stories are still quite naive, although this episode has a ending where Steve uses a trick seen in a "Jeff Hawke" story (which is probably the best Science fiction comic of ever).
But anyway all remains very childish, first of all the "oxygen tablets", which allow to go in space without spacesuits: a trick to avoid making puppets with suits and helmets?
On the other hand, visual effects are already very good, just think to the Fireball launch sequence (made also with a clever montage: making it in a single shot was absolutely impossible...).
Here is the story: a party takes off to colonise "New Earth", a planet similar to Earth except for air. But a trap has been set for Earthmen on the planet, and moreover the space immigrant falls seriously ill during the voyage.

WARNING: to read the comic you need Acrobat Reader.



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