Tintin is going to the Congo, the jewel of the Belgian colonial empire. The reader is given no insight into what the reporter’s actual assignment is besides simply ‘reporting’, positioning Tintin in his early adventures as more of a travel guide than a journalist. Snowy, incorrigible as ever, runs amok on the cruise ship, crossing a shifty stowaway who tries unsuccessfully to drown the poorly-behaved pooch. When they arrive in the Congo, Tintin is greeted as a less of a celebrity and more of a hero when he arrives in the Congo, though his exploits in Africa seem mostly-confined to killing animals, and throughout the story Tintin is shown trying to shoot lions, crocodiles, antelopes, monkeys and elephants--though, usually, not without some comedic mishaps. He soon runs afoul of the local tribes’ Witch Doctor, who is jealous of the reporter’s influence and joins with the aforementioned stowaway, who has his own, unexplained vendetta against Tintin, but their collaborative efforts to dispose of him fail each time. Eventually, Tintin discovers that the stowaway is actually an agent of Chicago mob boss Al Capone, who is attempting a takeover of the African national diamond production, and erroneously believed that Tintin had been sent to expose his plans. The smuggling ring is promptly arrested and Tintin is picked up in a plane, all set to cover the new story developing in Chicago.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets introduces us to the boy reporter Tintin and his faithful terrier Snowy, who are tasked by Belgian journal Le Petit Vingtième to travel to Soviett Russia and report on how exactly the Great White Motherland is coping some twelve years after the Bolshevik revolution. His journey starts auspiciously, narrowly surviving an assassination attempt from a Soviet secret agent and being blamed for the resulting destruction by the German authorities. Fortunately, our hero manages to escape his Teutonic holdings and dutifully continue his assignment without a second-thought, like a true journalist would. Tintin is instantly-targeted by the Soviet state securit upon arrival, but manages to outmaneuver their agents each time with a combination of dumb-luck, quick-thinking and Snowy’s assistance--but mostly luck. During this frenetic game of cat and mouse, Tintin discovers the truth about the USSR; the Communists rule only through intimidation and fear, duping the outside world into believing they are prosperous while economic mismanagement and corruption has, in fact, left their nation on the brink of famine. Tintin escapes back to Germany, casually thwarting a Communist plot to blow up the capitals of Europe with dynamite in the process, and returns to a rapturous reception in Brussels.
Women in David Malouf’s Ransom are significant in their absence, remaining confined to the historical and social realities of the novel’s setting. While Malouf’s reinterpretation of the world of Homer’s Iliad explores the nature of violence, war and patrimony, these themes are never removed from their traditionally-understood place within the ‘masculine’ sphere of influence, and the author presents a society, in which woman’s importance exists only in her association with the deeds of great men. As a result, the women in Ransom serve only the roles a patriarchal society will permit; those of wives, mothers and handmaidens. Malouf’s choice not to challenge these stereotypes may be read as a result of his authorial loyalty to the source material, or, more-critically, as an exploration of the ways in which cultural narratives surrounding war and violence are presented as almost-entirely masculine affairs.