The Yellow "M"


The Yellow "M"

Graphicnovelbox|
englishtitle = The Yellow “M”
foreigntitle = La Marque Jaune


caption = Cover of the English language (Cinebook) edition
publisher = Les Editions Blake et Mortimer
(Dargaud-Lombard)
date = 1956
series = Blake and Mortimer
origpublication = Tintin Magazine
origissues = 256 to 322
origdate = 6 August 1953 to
3 November 1954
origlanguage = French
origisbn = 2-87097-010-2
writers = Edgar P. Jacobs
artists = Edgar P. Jacobs
transpublisher = Cinebook Ltd
transdate = 2007
transisbn = 978-1-905460-21-2
translator = Clarence E. Holland
previssue =
nextissue = Atlantis Mystery

"The Yellow "M"" ( _fr. La Marque Jaune) by the Belgian artist Edgar P. Jacobs is the sixth comic book in the "Blake and Mortimer" series, first published in Tintin Magazine between 6 August 1953 and 3 November 1954. It first appeared in album format in 1956.

ynopsis

London is terrorised by the Yellow M, an enigmatic criminal, and London's police are at a loss, so Blake calls Professor Mortimer in to help solve the case.

Plot

London is being terrorized by an enigmatic villain; the only mark he leaves behind is the symbol of a yellow "M". When the Imperial State Crown is stolen from the Tower of London, the Home Office assign Captain Blake to assist Scotland Yard with their inquiries. Blake calls in his old friend, Professor Mortimer, to assist him. Meeting at the Centaur Club, Mortimer is also introduced to some of the club's regulars: Leslie Macomber, editor of the "Daily Mail"; Sir Hugh Calvin, judge at the Central Criminal Court; Professor Robert Vernay of the British Medical Association and Dr Jonathan Septimus of the Psychiatric Institute. Following dinner the group break up with Vernay and Septimus electing to walk home. On the way Septimus feels ill and calls a taxi, leaving Vernay alone; shortly afterwards, Vernay is abducted by the Yellow "M".

The following night Macomber is kidnapped and the day after, Calvin. Septimus is warned that he is next and agrees with Blake's suggestion that he leave London. Taking a train from King's Cross, their journey is unexpectedly stopped; Blake goes to investigate but, returning to their compartment, discovers Septimus has disappeared. Suddenly their train collides with the Harwich Express and is derailed. Meanwhile, Mortimer, conducting research into the affair, has become interested in "The Mega Wave", a book over which a libel case was fought and with which Macomber, Calvin, Vernay and Septimus were involved.

Visiting the British Library to find a copy of "The Mega Wave", Mortimer is confounded by the Yellow "M", who steals the library's copy of the book from under his nose. That night a mysterious masked figure breaks into Blake and Mortimer's house. Awoken, the occupants confront the intruder but he is resistant to bullets and when Nasir the manservant attempts to seize him, he is knocked unconscious. The intruder escapes into the night. Blake and Mortimer then discover a listening device hidden in their living room.

Later that day Blake receives an anonymous letter, requesting that he come to Limehouse Dock if he wishes to learn more about the affair. Blake fears that it is a trap but elects to go anyway, with support from the police. After he has left Mortimer is visited by Stone, archivist at the "Daily Mail"; he has found a copy of "The Mega Wave". As he reads the book, Mortimer realises that Blake is in terrible danger. Mortimer joins then at Limehouse Dock where the Yellow "M" tries, unsuccessfully, to kill Blake. The police give chase but, despite being shot, falling into the river, crashing his car and catching fire, the Yellow "M" still manages to escape, apparently unharmed.

Mortimer stays on the Yellow "M"'s trail, following him into the sewers where he finds the Yellow "M"'s secret lair. There he finds Septimus, who is the mastermind behind the Yellow "M"; he has used the power of the Mega Wave (a special brain wave discovered by Septimus) to control his manservant, Pig, to be the Yellow "M". Pig turns out to be Blake and Mortimer's old adversary Olrik, who was found by Septimus after leaving the country after the libel case (Olrik was at the time nearly completely amnesiac due to the events of ""). Septimus is seeking revenge on Macomber, Vernay and Calvin, who had ridiculed his concept of the Mega Wave. Septimus had written the book under a pseudonym) but his publisher has instigated, and lost, a libel action against Macomber and Vernay who were supported by Judge Calvin. Using the technology in his lair, Septimus jams the BBC Television signal, announcing that the Yellow "M" will execute Mortimer.

Scotland Yard are able to triangulate the source of the signal and begin to search the area. Blake finds the copy of "The Mega Wave" Mortimer received from Stone; reading the dedication, he recognises Septimus' handwriting and realises Mortimer and the others must be in Septimus' house. Septimus is ready to kill Mortimer but Mortimer is able to break Septimus' hold over Olrik (by repeating the spell cast on Olrik that caused him to lose his memories). Olrik turns against his former master, killing him and then making his escape. Blake and the police enter the lair freeing Calvin, Vernay and Macomber and finding the stolen Imperial Crown. They finally head off to celebrate Christmas Day.

Locations

The drama takes place almost exclusively in London with a brief flashback to Egypt and Sudan.

* London, England:*Tower of London:*King's Cross railway station:*The Centaur Club, located in Piccadilly.:*Piccadilly Circus:*Shaftesbury Avenue:*New Oxford Street:*Coptic Street:*Scotland Yard:*Blake and Mortimer's Residence, 99a Park Lane:*Tavistock Square:*Law courts:*Offices of the "Daily Mail", Fleet Street:*Charing Cross Hospital:*The British Library:*Limehouse Dock:*Eastern Dock:*St Katharine Docks:*London's Sewer System:*A BBC Studio:*A public house:*The Prime Minister's Residence, 10 Downing Street:*Train London Ipswich Suffolk (England)
*Egypt
*Sudan:*Fanaka, a small village in the province of the Blue Nile.:*Wisko, an isolated spot in the middle of the desert where Septimus discovered Olrik.

upporting Characters

* Centaur Club:* James - butler:* Macomber, Leslie - pipe-smoking Chief editor of the Daily Mail.:* Calvin, Hugh (Sir) - a cigar-smoking judge at the central criminal court.:* Vernay, Robert (Professor) - president of the British Medical Association.:* Septimus, Jonathan (Dr.) - attaché at the Psychiatric Institute. Resides in Tavistock Square.
* Scotland Yard:* Charles (Sir) - Chief Police Commissioner:* Kendall, Glen - Chief Inspector assigned to investigate the disappearance of Vernay.:* Patrick - Policeman assigned to guard Septimus' residence.:* Adams - Plainclothes police at Limehouse stakeout.:* Bill - Driver of police car pursuing Yellow "M" after Limehouse stakeout.
* Daily Mail:* Steve - Editorial secretary:* Glover - Print room chief.:* Phill - Porter:* Stone - Archivist
* Others:* Nasir - Mortimer's servant.:* Mrs. Benson - Household staff at Blake and Mortimer's Residence:* Thornley, James (Dr.) - Editor of "The Mega Wave" written by Dr. John Wade (pseudonym of Septimus). Only mentioned in the story, having passed away in 1922 after his libel suit against Vernay and Macomber failed at the ruling of Calvin.:* Drummond - British Commissioner of the district where Fanaka is located Sudan. It was Drummond who first discovered the amnesiac Olrik, and contacted Septimus.:*The Prime Minister - bears a strong resemblance to Sir William Grey, head of the secret base of the Swordfish, and Winston Churchill.

English Publication

"The Yellow "M" was first published in English by Les Editions Blake and Mortimer in 1988. It was later issued by Cinebook Ltd in January 2007.


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