After the publication in 1987 of Law 22/1987, of November 11, on Intellectual Property, the ownership of the works by the authors was confirmed, including, of course, the cartoonists. At that time, Francisco Ibáñez became part of Ediciones Bwith six new albums by Mortadelo and Filemón each year, where abundant elements of politics, current affairs and the fashions of the moment in which they are created appear.
This album tells how in Spain are building new sections of the UVA (Ultraloca Speed Automotive). The new train claims to be one of the best and fastest in the world, but someone wants it to fail and sabotages the works. The TIA sends Mortadelo and Filemón to investigate.
This comic parodies the problems of construction of the section of the AVE that linked Madrid with Lérida in the year 2000. Any day, Francisco Ibáñez should parody the few AVE trains that are neither here nor expected, as in the case of Huelva, for example.
Ibáñez caricatures the former President of the Government, José María Aznar, and his Minister of Public Works, Francisco Álvarez Cascos. Since the eighties, Ibáñez mocks all politicians and all parties, whatever their ideology. Not only from Spaniards, but also from foreigners.
In the introduction, Ibáñez makes irony with his characters who complain about waiting. Filemón claims Ibáñez while Mortadelo enjoys the holiday. Ibáñez takes advantage of not being under the gaze of Francoist censorship.
Memorable moments are the author’s explanation of the extinction of the dinosaurs, his version of the invention of the wheel and vehicles, the vignette in which the distribution of social classes is observed, etc. He highlights the Ibáñez’s ability to draw machines from different erasgiving them all their unmistakable cartoonish style without sacrificing realism.
The Super explains the mission to the agents: investigate UV worksA. For six pages, our men visit the Benicochínez station. Mortadelo and Filemón observe the wagons, the poor facilities, the poorly designed route, the impossible braking system, etc. The vignette of dinosaurs that portrays one of the graves with which they found during the project stands out. After gags like the Mortadelo method to feel fresh, the Super appears who, due to an unfortunate comment, ends up suffering the revenge of his agents.
The next eleven pages are spent investigating the Valdecaquita station, with gags related to the signal tower and Filemón’s foot. stands out, false tunnel joke (painted so that politicians could appear on television inaugurating it), with which Ibáñez once again highlights the shortcomings of politicians who are more concerned about “getting in the picture” than about their nation.
The following plates offer us examples of the Ibáñez’s ability as a draftsman. In the gag in which a peasant raises the train tracks so that an old man can pass underneath, plasticity stands out.
It is necessary to take into account the ingenuity of which Filemón makes a show, since still confident in the efficiency of the workers on the UVA line, although reality will give you more than one disappointment. Remarkable is Mortadelo’s mention of Pepe Gotera, who, given the theme of this album, is strange that he has not appeared with his partner Otilio. This section closes with some jokes such as “the dead end” and the gags that show that the cutrez of the UVA also affects its interior.
During the next phase of the album, the agents will have to intercept the train that they themselves have started and that is going out of control. In six pages, they will show their stupidity, with scenes like that where they throw themselves down an embankment.
Several leaders meet at the Pelusa del Sobaquillo station to discuss the UVA issue. Ibáñez portrays politicians as opulent beings who mark the designs of the UVA guided by their personal interests.
The climax of the album is when Mortadelo and Filemón start the train again, which goes out of the way. The collateral effects that the diversion of the train produces stand out. Some vignettes are an example, in addition to Ibáñez’s dynamism, of his ability to draw vehicles.
Next week: the ghost tribe (1982), by Jean-Michel Charlier and Jean Giraud, the twentieth album in the series blueberry.