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Our man at the U.S.S. Keith Ansell continues his report...
21 Special Agent: TV Century 21, 1966
The story so far...
Biography - 21
21 was born William Frazer in Kahra, Mars in 2018.
He was the eldest son of the space pioneers Sir William and Lady Frazer who had settled on the Red Planet in 2009.
William was educated on Mars at Kahra University and he graduated with degrees in mathematics, space navigation and music. He also qualified as an astronaut from the Martian Space Academy in 2036, to be commissioned into the World Space Patrol (then based at Washington DC) as aid to Air General Steve Kalinski. When Sir William died in 2037 he inherited his father's title.
Sir William Frazer Junior moved back to Mars with General Kalinski and joined the USS when the General was promoted to the post of Director of the Universal Secret Service and adopted the code name S.
To protect their families the two men followed normal USS procedure and changed their names.
Air General Kalinski took the name Zodiac and Sir William changed his to Brent Cleever.
While on vacation on Venus in 2039 Cleever became involved with an attempt to assassinate the Venusian President. His brilliant handling of the case saved the day.
Soon after Cleever was caught by SOFRAM agents and only escaped with the aid of a child's toy. On his return to Mars he contacted the Century 21 Toys Company on the outskirts of Kahra and asked them to produce toys to his own specifications - deadly toys not on sale in any shop. The idea was an immediate success and soon they were standard issue to all USS agents.
S decided that the USS should take over the Century 21 Toy Factory and make it their HQ so they could manufacture their own deadly toys.
Cleever was promoted to Senior Special Agent 21 in 2041.
In 2055 21 took over from S as Director of the USS S was promoted to the World Security Council.
Unfortunately Kalinski was mispelt Kalizki throughout 21s biography (assuming we accept the correct spelling was given in the Fireball XL5 strip see TV Century 21 issue 51).
William Frazer Jr joining the World Space Patrol in 2036 contradicts the Agent 21 strip stories which inform us more than once that the WSP had only just beem formed in 2046/7.
We hear a character called Sir William Frazer in the Thunderbirds episode '30 Minutes after Noon' - he is the Head of the British Security Service and his code name is 21.
(Abridged from the TV Century 21 annual ©1966)
With issue 52 of TV Century 21, the 21 strip was retitled 21 Special Agent and expanded to 2 pages. The extra page gave artist Rab Hamilton a chance to refine his style and give it more depth. The strip continued to draw upon and enforce TV Century 21s mythology with stories featuring the World Space Patrol, the WASPs, SOFRAM, the bean-like Astrans and the World President.
We got gritty realism in issue 62 with the death of 21s assistant Tina, and discovered that 21 was a master of disguise and that the British Prime Minister was in his debt. Jack Reed was introduced in issue 86 proving that an assistants life is hard and then you (
well wait and see in Part 3).
With issue 92 the strip gained a new vertical logo and was retitled for the second time becoming 21 Secret Agent. For a feature appearing in a comic aimed at schoolchildren, it was remarkably progressive. Admittedly, it took its lead from what was happening in films and TV, but the fact that it could veer from science fantasy to John Le Carre style intrigue gave the strip a power and unpredictability that may well have contributed to its longevity.
The Agent 21 strip (under whatever title) was the icing on the TV21 cake in my opinion.
21 Special Agent strip guide - part two
Story Four (aka If You Can't Stand the Heat*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 52, dateline 15 January 2066
Something is wrong at the Melong Cahelium Mine on Venus. The temperature at Work Face 9 is now up to 107 degrees and still rising. Two Mine Supervisors (one human and one a humanoid alien named Aquan) enter the Mine by hovercar to investigate but are killed along with the seven man work crew in a sudden blast of heat that reduces their hovercar to molten slag. 21 is called into Ss office at the USS HQ Kahra, Mars. S informs him of the accident at the Cahelium Mines on Venus. The World President wants the USS to find out what went wrong so S orders 21 to investigate. 21 arrives at the Mine soon after and another Supervisor drives him to meet a team of four volunteers who are about to approach Work Face 9 wearing asbestos suits protected by a lead shield to try and find out what is causing the tremendous heat that killed the work crew. As the four men begin to approach the work face the heat is so intense their lead shield begins to melt
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 53, dateline 22 January 1966
21 runs forward and grabs one of the miners pulling him to safety but the other three are not so lucky. The surviving miner is taken away on a stretcher and the Mine Supervisor orders one of the guards to keep the area closed off. 21 is at a loss what to do until he remembers the new deadly toy firemen. He contacts S at USS HQ on Mars and asks him to send a dozen of the deadly toy firemen along with six miles of flexible asbestos pipe. S says they will be on the next space ship to Venus. 21 now tells the bemused Supervisor that he wants a 6000 gallon tanker of liquid oxygen at the mine entrance the following day. The next day the asbestos pipes are connected to the tanker and taken down to Work Face 9 where 21 (who is now wearing an asbestos suit) attaches them to his deadly toy firemen. He calls for the liquid oxygen to be turned on and directs the deadly toys to approach the glowing work face. 21 and the Supervisor watch the deadly toys progress on the agents sample case screen. The liquid oxygen slowly puts a layer of frost across the mine face. 21 now pulls on his suit helmet and approaches the frozen mine workings with a pickaxe in his hand. He can see what appears to be a large piece of stone-like ore embedded in the work face. He decides to try and chip it clear but is caught in a blast of deadly heat as the lump of ore falls free
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 54, dateline 29 January 1966
21 is thrown to the ground in the blast of heat. He calls for the deadly toy firemen spray liquid oxygen directly onto the glowing lump of ore and freeze it before he is burnt to death. The Mine Supervisor operates the controls in 21s sample case and the toy firemen move closer allowing the USS agent to crawl back out of danger. 21 now calls for a large portable deep freezer to be brought to Work Face 9 and then instructs his deadly toy firemen to pick up the frozen piece of stone-like ore and place it in the freezer while others continue to spray it with liquid oxygen. 21 decides to take it back to the USS Research Lab on Mars in his space ship. He sets course 90 Zero Red for Mars. Some time later two World Space Patrol fighters order him to heave to they wish to search his ship. 21 informs them he has Class A Security Clearance and they cannot come aboard but the WSP officer threatens to blast him if they are not allowed to search his ship for all they know the USS agent could be a SOFRAM smuggler. He reluctantly agrees and two men in WSP uniforms use thruster packs to cross over to 21s ship. The USS agent shows the astronauts his pass and they shoot him with a ray gun. Sometime later 21 recovers to find himself in a cell on Mercury a captive of SOFRAM...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 55, dateline 05 February 1966
Two SOFRAM troopers enter 21s cell and take him at gunpoint to see their back hooded Leader who stands behind a large desk. The Leader wants 21 to help remove the heat ore from his spaceship, which has been brought to Mercury along with the USS agent. Unseen 21 releases two small capsules from a secret compartment in the heel of his shoe and stamps on them. The resulting flash blinds the two SOFRAM troopers allowing 21 to grab the Leader and swing him out over the desk and into his men. The USS agent now grabs his sample case, which fortunately had been brought to the Leaders office and jumps through the panoramic window behind the desk. 21 lands in the grounds of the SOFRAM base and bowls over a group of troops passing by. The troopers fire at him but the USS agents luck holds and he guns the four men down without being hit. 21 now runs for cover in the strange alien vegetation surrounding the base. The SOFRAM Leader gives the order to hunt 21 down and four troop carriers are soon trundling from the base to look for him in the undergrowth...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 56, dateline 12 February 1966
The four SOFRAM troop carriers pass 21 without spotting the USS Agent as they head out into the alien undergrowth surrounding their base on Mercury. 21 now turns back to the base and sees that SOFRAM troops are starting to unload the freezing unit containing the heat ore from his space ship in the nearby Space-Drome. The Leader intends to take it to SOFRAM Headquarters but 21 cannot allow that. He takes his deadly toy rocket launcher from his sample case and fires a missile destroying his space ship but the freezer unit has already been moved out of range of the explosion on a one man truck which is slowly carrying it to the SOFRAM Leaders space ship. 21 fires another missile which narrowly misses the truck. The troop carriers have now spotted 21s position in the undergrowth and turn around to attack him. The USS agent has one more chance to hit his target before the troop carriers reach him. His last missile hits the truck and the freezing unit is burst open and begins to melt. 21 now turns and throws explosive deadly toy golf balls at the nearest troop carrier
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 57, dateline 19 February 1966
The troop carrier explodes in a ball of flame. Meanwhile back at the SOFRAM base the heat ore has melted the blasted freezer unit and now begins to radiate heat energy onto the surrounding space ships. The SOFRAM Leader calls the troop carriers back in the hope they can help. The surviving troop carriers turn away from 21 and race back to the base. The Leader and the three troop carriers are destroyed in the chain of explosions that rock the bases Space Drome as the melting space ships fuel tanks ignite. 21 now uses his sample case to contact S on Mars and calls in reinforcements. He asks for a liquid oxygen tanker and another freezing unit. Once they have arrived the USS agent uses his deadly toy firemen again to re-freeze the heat ore and place it in the new deep freezer. 21 and the USS agents collect all the SOFRAM records before leaving Mercury. Sometime later 21 reports to S who congratulates him on a job well done and informs him that the scientists have decided to call the heat ore Cleevenium.
The New Thunderbirds - issues 01 to 07
The Year 2 stories are set in 2047 this is intimated by Story Three which commenced in December 2046 and ended two months later (ie February 2047) with Britain joining the World Government. The 2047 date is finally confirmed in Story Ten.
The miners at Work Face 9 are seen to be a mix of humans and humanoid aliens. The aliens could be Venusians.
Cahelium is the special metal from which the Fireball XL Fleet and Stingray are constructed, as per TV21 mythology.
This story suggests cahelium is of Venusian origin.
The Mine Supervisor who takes 21 to Work Face 9 calls him Mr. Cleever
The suggestion is that space flight from Mars to Venus only takes one day.
Presumably Work Face 9 is 6 miles from the mine entrance.
The WSP astronauts are wearing clear space helmets and gloves when they cross over to 21s space ship presumably oxygen pills have still to be invented in 2047.
The SOFRAM Base must be in the temperate zone on Mercury.
There appears to be a breathable atmosphere around the SOFRAM base.
In part 5, why didnt the SOFRAM Leader take the heat ore to SOFRAM HQ in 21s space ship?
The late placing of a full page advert (for Kellogg's Corn Flakes) in issue 5 of The New Thunderbirds meant the second page of part 5 was printed in issue 6, with an impromptu heading and resume.
Story Five (aka Andromeda Or Die*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 58, dateline 26 February 1966
21 crouches down just outside the Mikhal Rocket Base in Bereznik searchlights blaze into the night sky, illuminating vertical take off rockets which stand ready at their gantries. He takes a deadly toy rabbit from his sample case and sets it to run into the electrified perimeter fence. There is a flash of power and two sections of the fence are fused. Bereznik guards are sent to investigate but finding the cremated toy believe it to be a real rabbit. 21 hears the captain of the guards say it will take 30 minutes to fix the fence fuse and order four of his men to guard the fence until it is fixed. The USS agent again resorts to his sample case to deal with the guards he knocks them out with his deadly toy archers. Next he selects two deadly toy robots to cut a hole in the fused fence. With twenty-five minutes left 21 grabs his sample case and crawls through the hole cut in the fence heading for the rocket bases underground fuel store. He hides in the shadows as two Bereznik officers pass by and listens to their conversation. They intend to sabotage the forthcoming Andromeda Probe on Astra and assassinate the visiting World President and the Astran Kaplan in the blast...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 59, dateline 05 March 1966
21 decides to carry on with his mission to destroy the Mikhal Rocket Base before warning S of the Bereznik plot. He still has 20 minutes left before the fence fuse is fixed. The USS agent enters the bases underground fuel store unnoticed and places a time detonator on one of the large storage tanks. With 10 minutes to go he climbs back up to the surface and uses the deadly toy rocket launcher again to fire four limpet missiles at the vertical take off rockets standing at their gantries. In a crouching run 21 heads for the hole in the boundary fence but a Bereznik guard spots him. Machine gun fire cuts through the night air and 21 falls to the ground in agony both legs have been hit. The USS agent desperately drags himself towards the fence leaving his sample case behind as the underground fuel store explodes lighting up the night sky
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 60, dateline 12 March 1966
21 drags himself through the hole in the boundary fence determined to get back to the World Navy submarine that brought him on this sabotage mission. Mikhal Rocket Base is now ablaze . A Bereznik officer orders two guards to get after the saboteur while the rest of his men fight the fires. The two guards find 21s sample case near the hole in the fence and recognise it for what it is. They follow the USS agents trail through the fence. 21 sees them coming and realises he will have to get up and walk if he is going to make it back to the nearby cliff top and the waiting WN sub before being caught. He forces himself to stand and staggers forward fighting the pain of the bullet wounds in his legs with grim determination. World Navy submarine WN7 lies in wait for the USS agent in the sea just off the coast beyond the cliffs near Mikhal Rocket Base. The Admiral in charge of the sub dare not wait much longer when a figure is sighted on the cliff top it is 21. The USS agent throws himself forward as the two Bereznik guards begin firing at him. Riddled with bullets 21 falls over 50 feet into the sea below. The WN Admiral has seen the agent fall. He orders machine guns trained on the cliff top and a lifeboat launched to rescue 21. The Bereznik Guards reach the cliff top and begin firing on the approaching lifeboat but are soon cut down by the WN machine gunners. 21 is hauled into the life boat more dead than alive but still desperate to warn the World President not to go to the Andromeda Probe...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 61, dateline 19 March 1966
The World Navy Admiral orders Captain Morgan to set course for Kiel. He then orders Lieutenant Day to radio Kiel Hospital and ask them to prepare for an emergency operation on USS Agent 21. The WN7 doctor doesnt think there is much chance of saving him. Bereznik radio operators intercept the message and inform security chief Colonel Paternik. Paternik calls for X7 to be sent in and assassinate 21 if he survives the operation. Four hours later WN7 ties up in Kiel Harbour and 21 is rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The surgeons are waiting to try and save his life. S is informed of 21s injuries and asks his secretary to put him through to Senior Special Agent 23 in Unity City. The image of Tina appears on his videophone. S informs her about 21 and orders her to go to Kiel Hospital and guard him with her life if necessary as he suspects a Bereznik assassination squad will be sent out. Ten minutes later Tina is on her way by mach 7 plane but Bereznik agents are already outside the hospital
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 62, dateline 26 March 1966
X7, the four man Bereznik assassination squad break into an ambulance parked outside Kiel hospital. One of them named Tchak lies down on a stretcher in the back while the others put on white coats found in the vehicle. They carry the stretcher into the hospital informing the orderlies that they have a knife case from a downtown street brawl and he is in a bad way. The orderlies allow the men to enter the hospital and the assassins head for the stretcher-bearers rest room near the operating theatre. They quickly knock out the bearers in the rest room with stun guns and calmly wait for the outcome of 21s operation. Tina arrives some time later while the operation is still in progress. The hospitals security guard explains that he has placed extra armed men in reception in case Bereznik try a frontal attack but Tina thinks the assassination squad will already be in the hospital if they are going to strike. Tina heads for the operating theatre as the operation is concluded 21 has survived. The Bereznik assassins spot Tina as she approaches the theatre and a gun battle follows fifteen seconds later Tina and the four assassins are all dead
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 63, dateline 02 April 1966
Three weeks later 21 has fully recovered from his operation with the help of the new quick healing drugs. Hes still sad about the death of Tina. S escorts him out of the hospital and questions 21 about the Bereznik plot to kill the World President and the Astran Kaplan when they visit the Andromeda Probe on Astra. S instructs 21 to go to Astra and take over security at the Andromeda Project. The USS agent is met by the Astran Kapbeta, the head of Astran Security when he lands on Astra, the major planet of the Astran Space Empire. Kapbeta takes 21, who sits cross-legged on an Astran floater, to the Andromeda Project where final preparations to the thousand-foot Probe spaceship are still being made. 21 is introduced to World Senator Imbo Kento who is in charge of the Project and his secretary Debbie Latimer. There is a mix of human and Astron engineers working on the project. 21 seems to recognise once of the human workmen it is one of the Bereznik officers from the Mikhal Rocket Base he heard discussing the plot to kill the WP and Kaplan...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 64, dateline 09 April 1966
21 takes a deadly toy mouse tracker from his sample case that is sitting on the Astran floater beside him. He locks it onto the suspected Bereznik agent and then suggests to Kapbeta that he would like to see his quarters he has work to do. The mouse has been spotted by someone else who recognises it for what it is. 21 meets Debbie Latimer at the Administration Dome as she passes by on an Astran floater she makes her excuses and carries on her way. 21 starts to modify some of his deadly toys to be more effective on Astra only to succumb to gas that is being released into his quarters by an unknown person. Luckily, Kapbeta enters 21s room to inform him that one of the Probe workmen has been murdered and finds the USS agent slumped on the floor with gas still pouring through the ventilator. The Astran tries to levitate 21 to safety but finds the agent too heavy to move far...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 65, dateline 16 April 1966
The disturbance in 21s room attracts World Senator Kembo and his secretary. Kembo runs in and drags 21 out into the corridor. The USS agent soon recovers away from the deadly gas fumes. Kapbeta tells him he is lucky he came to tell the agent that workman Mezenskies had been found dead or he would be too by now. 21 asks if a toy mouse was found near Mezenskies and the Astran Security Chief says there was and had been smashed to pieces. Months now slip by without further incident and the huge Probe ship is finally completed. The time for the World President and Kaplans inspection of the ship draws near. The night before their arrival 21 and Kapbeta give the ships flight centre a final check but a mystery figure manages to enter the giant ship unseen by the USS agent and makes a note of the remote control frequency. The WP and Astran Kaplan arrive the following morning seated side by side on a large floater specially prepared for the occasion. They head directly to the Probe ship and meet the astronauts meanwhile the mysterious Bereznik spy from the night before sets the remote controls to the frequency that will operate the Probe ship...
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 66, dateline 23 April 1966
21s deadly toy Jodrel Bank picks up the signal transmitted on the Andromeda Probes remote control frequency. Kapbeta notices the launch sites radar aerial has turned towards the ship. The USS agent quickly takes his deadly toy rocket launcher from his sample case and fires a missile at the radar dome. The rocket hits home destroying the radar aerial but the mysterious Bereznik agent intends to use an atomic bazooka to destroy the probe ship. 21 takes a deadly toy solar flash from his case and launches it at the ruined radar dome as Bazooka shells burst around the Probe ship. The deadly toy fires tracer bullets into the dome forcing the Bereznik agent to run from the window only to be caught by Kapbetas restraining beam it is Debbie Latimer. 21 had suspected her all along when she let slip the deadly toy mouse was cute. Sometime later 21 reports back to S at USS HQ, Kahra, Mars. Now the WP and Kaplan are safe he wants to avenge Tinas murder. S orders him to forget it personal vendettas are out of the question in the USS 21 tells him that he accepts this which is why he has just resigned.
The New Thunderbirds - issue 08 (part 1 only)
Mikhal Rocket Base is said to be 10 miles outside the Bereznik capital city of Katania. The mission to destroy the base was obviously a very important one to have an Admiral in command of the World Navy submarine.
The Astran Kaplan is the bean-like alien ruler of planet Astra, whose race was first seen in the Fireball XL5 strip. Is this the same Astran Kaplan that we first saw when he was assassinated in the year 2065? (i.e. 18 years in the future of this story)
The Astran Space Empire and the World Space Empire are neighbours in space.
The Astrans move objects by levitation.
Imbo Kento is a black African.
The crew of the Andromeda Probe ship will be put into frozen sleep during the journey, and appears to consist of 5 humans and 1 Astran under the command of Astran Kapt Klogan.
The World President appears to be drawn as Nikita Bandranaik.
Story Six (aka The Bitter Cold Dish*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 67, dateline 30 April 1966
21 has resigned from the USS so that he can track down and kill the Bereznik Security Chief whose assassins murdered his assistant Tina. S orders his Chief of Staff (?) Tatiana Bianca to send her best agent to his office at once. Agent 33 Abbis Ling is chosen and S instructs him to follow 21 and ensure he does not leave Mars. 21 suspects he is being followed so jumps on a monotrain headed for Kahra City Centre he hopes to lose Agent 33 in the huge Central Stores Building. 33 realises 21s ploy and calls for assistance. Meanwhile 21 purchases a large trunk and asks for it to be delivered to the Space Port at once. Six USS agents have now been sent to assist Abbis Ling track down 21 in the Central Stores Building.
Abbis orders them to spread out and seal off all the exits including the garage. Ling sees one of the shopping assistant robots place a large trunk on a conveyor belt that leads to Dispatch and gets suspicious he decides to search every case leaving the Dispatch Area. USS Agent Jackson attempts to give the order to the USS team spread out around the shop but Ling reminds him that the Store has an anti radio mesh to stop customers disturbing each other. 21s trunk has reached Dispatch and is about to be loaded onto a truck bound for the Space Port...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 68, dateline 07 May 1966
USS Agent 33 Abbis Ling and his team are too late to stop the truck leaving the Dispatch Area. They give chase in two USS hovercars and force the truck to pull over and stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway way heading towards the Space Port. The USS agents check the trunks in the back of the truck but find no trace of 21. The two hovercars now head back to USS HQ at Century 21 Toys Inc while the dispatch truck drives onto the Space Port. At the Space Port the driver heads for the gents washroom and peels off his disguise - he is 21! Minutes later 21 leaves the washroom now disguised as Colonel Mark Starr to take up his pre-booked flight to Earth. S is furious after listening to Agent 33s report and informs Tatiana Bianca that 21 must be on his way to Earth by now. She decides to handle the problem herself and leaves for Earth in a USS service rocket. Sometime later a ferry ship from Space Station E12 lands at London Space Port and a disguised 21 clears Customs and heads for London by hover coach. Tatiana is on the same hover coach and she wonders which of her fellow passengers is 21...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 69, dateline 14 May 1966
Tatiana Bianca suspects Colonel Mark Starr is 21 and follows him after they disembark from the hover coach at London Coach Terminal. She confronts him and calls for the Terminal Security to arrest him while she requests help from the British Government. Tatiana asks for a clearance warrant to take 21 back to Mars but her request is referred to the Prime Minister. The PM is Dai, the Welsh leader of the rebels that 21 had helped overthrow the Military Dictatorship that had held Britain in thrall since the 2028 Atomic War (see story Three). Dai owes 21 a debt of gratitude. He orders four plain clothes men to accompany him to the Air Terminal where they release the ex USS agent. 21 is pleased to see Dai and tells him of his mission to assassinate the Bereznik Security Chief who ordered Tinas death. Dai is surprised at 21 seeking revenge 21 says that he even surprises himself sometimes. The PM agrees to help 21 and orders a British Navy submarine to take him to Bereznik. Dai has arranged for the sample case of deadly toys that 21 gave the revolutionaries after they overthrew the Director to be placed on board the submarine. Meanwhile Tatiana gets her clearance certificate to take 21 back to Mars only to discover he is no longer at the London Coach Terminal some one has released him. She reports this to S on Mars. S contacts the World President and updates him on the latest events. The WP orders the World Navy and the WASPs to destroy any friendly submarines heading for Bereznik he does not want the diplomatic embarrassment of 21 assassinating the Bereznik Security Chief...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 70, dateline 21 May 1966
British Submarine B11 enters the Baltic Ocean now only 3 hours away from Bereznik but she has been spotted by the World Navy Destroyer Ramjet, which is part of the blockade of the Baltic ordered by the World President. The Ramjet orders B11 to surface for searching or they will be blasted from the water. 21 knows the WN Destroyers underwater videoscan would spot even a lone frogman swimming away from the B11 but he has a plan
Suddenly the B11 reports a fault to the WN Destroyer and nosedives into the ocean floor throwing up a lot of mud and slime. 21 manages to swim clear of the sub before the mud clears with his sample case strapped on his back. 9 hours and 12 minutes later he flops ashore on the North Coast of Germany exhausted. He climbs up a rocky cliff face but as he reaches the top he begins to slide back only for his hand to be grabbed by a young dark haired German girl standing there. She pulls him to safety and he collapses beside her fast asleep. The girl recognises 21 from an article in a newspaper which reads: Agent Kills Security Chief. $10,000 reward for capture On Mars S also has a copy of the newspaper. He congratulates the USS press office for releasing the fake report on 21. Tatiana Bianca wonders whether it will stop him. S is confident it will...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 71, dateline 28 May 1966
The dark haired German girl calls over to two fellow farm workers nearby. They carry 21 back to their farmhouse and after laying the USS agent on the sofa call the police. He wakes up to find one of the farm workers holding him at gunpoint. 21 tells them he is a toy salesman doing a publicity swim of the Baltic not the agent pictured in the newspaper. To prove it 21 opens his sample case and shows them what appears to be a music box. The USS agent smoothes back his hair and unnoticed slips ear plugs into his ears before operating the deadly toy. The music box emits a high-pitched hypnotic note, which puts 21s captors into a trance within seconds. A few minutes later a German police helijet lands beside the farmhouse. Two officers enter the house while the pilot remains to guard the helijet. 21 runs towards the helijet and uses his deadly toy peashooter to put the police pilot to sleep but not before he fires a shot warning the other officers. The USS agent now dives into the helijet and takes off for a date with a Bereznik killer before the two policemen can stop him...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 72, dateline 04 June 1966
21 is only 3 miles from the Bereznik border and flies low to remain undetected by video scan. A Bereznik border guard spots the German police helijet as it flashes past him and immediately radios Security Control. Video Scan 9 is reconfigured to give a low level shot and picks up 21s helijet. Ground to air missiles are launched and the helijet is blown out of the sky- but luckily 21 had bailed out minutes before and watches the helijet smash into the ground nearby. Bereznik troops are immediately ordered to the crash zone to search for survivors. Suddenly 21 steps out in front of them hands held high. The army lieutenant tells him illegal entry into Bereznik means the death penalty but 21 insists on being taken to the Security Police Chief and tells him he is USS Agent 21. The lieutenant cannot believe his luck. He orders his men to take 21 to the Bereznik seaport capital of Katania where the Secret Police Headquarters is located. They reach the Secret Police HQ where Bereznik secret service agents take over and frogmarch 21 into the office of the Head of the Secret Police but it isnt Colonel Paternik. The bald man introduces himself as Colonel Tobolski and tells the ex USS agent that Paternik is in prison waiting to be shot for incompetence.
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 73, dateline 11 June 1966
21 slumps down in the chair in front of Colonel Tobolskis desk apparently a defeated man. Tobolski reminds 21 he is now an outcast and would be shot on site if he returned to the USS before offering him a job working for the Bereznik secret police and 21 accepts. Tobolski wants to know all about the USS but 21 informs him that everything is changed when an agent defects. Tobolski gives 21 a new title X Two One, and orders him to prepare plans for the building of a deadly toy factory. With 21 gone another man enters Tobolskis office it is Colonel Paternik. Paternik has not been imprisoned by the Bereznik Government for incompetence. It is all a ploy to get 21 to work for the Bereznik Secret Police. Paternik wonders if 21 has been taken in by the deception. The work to build a deadly toy factory begins and within a few weeks it is completed capable of producing 1,000 deadly toys a day. Tobolski is pleased with 21s work but then orders his arrest saying his usefulness to Bereznik is now over but the ex USS agent grabs Tobolski around the neck and draws the Colonels gun threatening to shoot him if the Bereznik agents come any closer. 21 drags Tobolski into the deadly toy factory. Tobolski tells the ex USS agent that he has trapped himself but 21 calls him a fool and shows him the army of deadly toys he has built all of them under his control...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 74, dateline 18 June 1966
Tobolski scoffs at 21s deadly toys saying that they cant beat the whole Bereznik Army but 21 says all he wants to do is take over the city of Katania for 3 hours. A deadly toy tank swings into action and fires a gas shell at the Bereznik secret service men who are watching the main factory entrance, knocking them all unconscious. Detachments of deadly toy troops, tanks and planes now leave the factory and head for Katania.. Their surprise attack gives 21 the cover he needs to reach the Bereznik Secret Police HQ with Tobolski still held at gunpoint (using one of the abandoned hovercars outside the factory). 21 sets up a few deadly toy archers outside the HQ building to guard his back using one to knock out Tobolski who attempts to run into the building to warn the guards while the ex USS agent is momentarily distracted. 21 now systematically searches the Secret Police HQ knocking everyone unconscious in the building with his deadly toy tank he is looking for a secret room. A deadly toy tank blasts a hole in the wall of Tobolskis office exposing the hidden office of Colonel Paternik. 21 is not surprised to see Paternik sitting at a desk he suspected the ploy to make him defect all along. Paternik sees 21s gun and pleads for his life telling the ex USS agent he was only doing his duty. 21 tells him he is doing his and shoots Paternik...
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 75, dateline 25 June 1966
21 has only stunned Paternik he has now decided to hand him over to the USS so he can be tried by the World Court. The ex-USS agent throws the unconscious Paternik over his shoulder and decides to head for the airfield just outside Katania. The deadly toy gas shell attack on the city has caused chaos and the Bereznik Army have been alerted and are on their way to Katania but 21 is travelling fast in a stolen hover car. He quickly reaches the nearby Military Airfield and manages to steal a 2-man fighter plane. Bereznik Security have tracked the unidentified take off and fighters are soon launched to intercept 21s plane. Paternik tells him they are on the edge of death and there is no escape for him now they will die together. 21 does not think so he knows the World Navy Fleet are still patrolling the Bereznik Coast and launches a mock attack on the first WN ship he sees a Submarine Aircraft Carrier. The Submarine Aircraft Carrier launches its fighters to counter attack just in time to blast the Bereznik planes tracking 21 out of the sky. 21 manages to slip quietly away and 20 minutes later he lands on the outskirts of Berlin. He stuns Paternik again and waits nearby for the German police to arrive and arrest the Bereznik Secret Police Chief. 21 now walks away from the crowd of bystanders knowing his career is over. All he can do is wait to be found either by the USS or the Bereznik Secret Police both want to see him dead.
The robot shopping assistants accept payment in the form of a credit card-like Citizens Note upon which the holders bank account details are encoded.
The shopping assistants are similar to the robots seen in the Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 AD comic book published in the US by Gold Key during the 60s.
The motorway heading out of Kahra towards the Space Port is raised up above the Martian desert on columns.
Presumably 21 had previously hidden the colonels uniform and papers he uses when disguised as Mark Starr at the Space Port knowing this would be the only way to leave Mars after resigning from the USS.
Presumably passenger flights from Mars to Earth do not land on either planet but take on board /off load their passengers at Space Stations orbiting the planets then ferry ships take them to Space Ports of their choice.
There is an alien on the hover coach sitting behind Tatiana possibly one of the humanoid aliens seen in Story Four.
We learn the location of Bereznik for the first time in this story its northern coast can be reached via the Baltic Sea and it borders on Germany. (i.e. - it can only be located where Poland is today)
Surely publishing 21s picture in a newspaper blows his cover forever more?
The first reference to Berezniks capital city of Katania is made in this story.
21s deadly toy army reminds me of the General Jumbo strip seen in the Beano comic.
A World Navy Submarine Aircraft carrier was first seen in the Stingray strip back in TV Century 21 no. 1. This is another example of the continuity within TV 21, which helped make the 21 strips so good.
Story Seven (aka The Long Road Back*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 76, dateline 02 July 1966
21 is an outcast- either the USS or the Bereznik Secret Police will find him eventually. He wonders the wet and windy streets of Berlin, friendless and alone awaiting his fate. In Bereznik Colonel Tobolski is determined to capture 21 and asks his people if the ex USS agent has been located . The Tracing Department know he is in Berlin and are confident that their man will be successful in finding him soon. S is worried at USS HQ , Kahra, Mars. He knows 21 is hiding out in Berlin and that he must send an agent to eliminate him. In Bereznik Tobolski chooses his man to assassinate 21, twenty-four year old Hans Subreck. Tobolski offers Subreck a sample case of deadly toys - identical to those used by USS agents with one exception. This one contains a deadly toy cobra snake capable of firing truth serum darts. Tobolski wants Subreck to obtain every scrap of information from 21s mind before he kills him. S decides to send thirty-two year old Bruce Silver to assassinate 21 no frills, just the direct approach. He thinks it is the only way to beat the ex USS agent. Both Subrek and Silver arrive in Berlin their agents have traced 21s hideout. A dingy lodging house in the back streets of Berlin where he has gone to await his fate...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 77, dateline 09 July 1966
21 looks out of the window and sees a man with a suit case approaching his lodging house and believes it to be the USS agent sent to assassinate him but he is mistaken. It is the Bereznik agent armed with a sample case of deadly toys patterned after those used by the USS. 21 decides to make a fight of it and climbs out of a rear window and up onto the roof of the lodging house. Hans Subrek enters 21s room and finding it empty he selects a deadly toy mouse from his case adjusting it to home in on 21s aftershave lotion. The mouse climbs out of the window and up onto the roof after 21 unnoticed by the ex USS agent. Subreck can see 21 hiding behind a chimneystack on the roof through the eyes of the deadly toy mouse which transmit a TV image to the screen in the lid of his sample case. He now sends up more deadly toys (including two tanks and seven archers) with orders to surround 21 before stepping up onto the roof himself to confront the ex USS agent deadly toy cobra in hand. Meanwhile the real USS assassin, Bruce Silver has entered the lodging house and finding 21s room empty decides to climb out through the open window and see if he is on the roof...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 78, dateline 16 July 1966
21 is tired of running and just stands waiting for Subrek to kill him but when the Bereznik agent takes his eyes off the ex USS agent to switch on his tape recorder before firing the truth serum dart from the cobra instinct takes over and 21 leaps at the assassin. 21 decides he wants to live and punches Subreck in an attempt to get his deadly toy control box, knocking the Bereznik agent off his feet but Bruce Silver is now on the roof and grabs 21 from behind. Subrek is afraid Silver will kill 21 before he can get the information about the USS from him so he directs his deadly toy tanks and archers to fire at Silver knocking him unconscious. 21 now helps Subrek to his feet still believing him to be a USS agent and tells him there is no need to kill him he has decided to return to Mars and face a Court Marshal if necessary. Subrek is confused and then both men are surprised to see Silver get back to his feet still intent on killing 21. 21 grabs the deadly toy control box from the confounded Subrek but then remembers the toy cobra which fell to the roof top during the fight. He scoops it up and fires it at Silver hoping it will be more effective than the other deadly toys. The truth serum dart strikes the USS assassin and stops him in his tracks. He stands with a glazed look on his face and begins to reel off his name, who he works for and his mission. As Silver babbles a long confession 21 realises who Subrek is but too late to avoid being kicked to the floor by the Bereznik assassin. Subrek points his gun at the ex USS agent intent on killing his adversary now the truth serum has been wasted on Silver...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 79, dateline 23 July 1966
21s reflexes are razor sharp and he beats Subreks bullets managing to reach the cover of a nearby chimney stack. He still has the Bereznik assassins control box in his hands so uses it to move a deadly toy searchlight truck forward. 21 switches the high intensity light on and the beam blinds Subrek in the evening gloom. He falls back and topples from the roof top to his death. Subreks accomplice, watching from the street below, sees what has happened and begins shooting up at the surviving agents. 21 manages to get Silver off the roof and back down to his apartment but the USS assassin is still in a daze. Silvers accomplice hears gunshots and moves to attack the Bereznik gunman firing up at the rooftop of the lodging house. 21 realises this is their chance and manages to get Silver down to street level and into his car. He decides to head for the Berlin Space Port. Silver has now fallen silent and as 21 drives towards the space port the effects of the truth serum begin to wear off. Silver realises he is in a car with 21 and suddenly grabs the ex USS agent by the throat. 21 loses control of the car and it crashes into a roadside building wrecking the vehicle...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 80, dateline 30 July 1966
The safety features in the car save the agents lives. 21 helps Silver out of the car and both men stumble to cover before the car explodes. Silver is still determined to carry out his mission and assassinate 21 now that he is fully recovered from the truth serum. He punches the ex USS agent to the ground. 21 allows Silver to drag him back to his feet before kicking out his legs upwards and aiming a perfect karate chop to the assassins neck followed by a flying drop kick that floors Silver. 21 swiftly applies pressure to a nerve centre on Silvers arm as the assassin staggers to his feet then lands a final straight armed blow that knocks Silver out for the count. 21 now hails a passing taxi, which takes him and his injured colleague to the Space Port. Soon both men are on their way back to Kahra, Mars. Sometime later 21 confronts S with the now docile Silver -holding the assassin in a painful arm-lock. S has given orders for 21 and his captive to enter USS HQ unmolested (much to 21s surprise). S orders 21 to let Silver go and explains that it had been a gamble sending the assassin after him. S had hoped 21 would fight back, see sense and return to the USS and the gamble had paid off. 21 questions whether Silver would really have killed him and S says of cause he would given the chance but he never doubted 21s ability to defeat him. 21 is prepared to face a Court Martial but S says it is up to him to decide 21s fate and he has only one thing to say Welcome back to the Universal Secret Service 21 Weve missed you.
The back streets of Berlin could be mistaken for 1966 rather than 2047.
The safety features in 21s car obviously did not include a fuel cut-off switch.
How 21 manages to get a semi comatose Silver on the flight to Mars without having embarrassing questions asked by Space Port Security is beyond me maybe he shows them his USS papers? There again the false story S had previously released to the World Press would have stopped him doing that. Maybe 21 disguised himself as Mark Starr again?
How did 21 keep Silver docile during the flight to Mars? Presumably he just kept pressing that good old nerve centre on the assassins arm - or maybe he used the truth serum on him again?
Story Eight (aka New Blood*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 81, dateline 06 August 1966
21 has been reinstated in the USS. In the last 6 months 15 new agents have disappeared within days of qualifying so S informs 21 that he has to return to Spy School as a novice in the hopes of catching a double agent there - who maybe one of the instructors. 21 will not only face the double agent but the school instructors too who will want to prove how good they are. Two days later 21 arrives at the USS Spy School and suspecting a trap he throws himself to the floor as he enters the building machine gun bullets rip the air above him. A school instructor, Mr Parsil, congratulates him on his quick reactions but 21 is suspicious of him and records the incident. Later 21 reports for an aptitude test and gets 97 out of 100. Another instructor, Mr Weight, chastises him on his score three mistakes could cost him his life. The next test is dangerous. 21 must swim out of a diving tube 60 feet below water in one of the schools test pools and cut his way through a wire net before he can reach the surface but someone has filled his air tanks with carbon dioxide and turned the emergency alarm off...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 82, dateline 13 August 1966
21 realises he will have to keep swimming in and out of the diving tube holding his breath underwater as he cuts through the wire net. It takes the USS agent two or three journeys back to the tube for each wire strand he cuts but each time he takes a breath in the tube the water level rises. He realises it will be touch and go whether he can cut through all six strands in time. 21 cuts through the last strand and tries to force his body through the hole in the net but everything starts to go black
Half an hour later 21 wakes up in a sickbay bed with instructor Bill Weight and the Spy School Doctor Guild looking down at him. The Doctor tells 21 he needs sleep to fully recover and uses a pressure hypodermic to knock him out. Night falls on Mars and from out of the darkness a mysterious figure approaches 21s room and aims a gun at him through an open window...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 83, dateline 20 August 1966
Suddenly another figure within 21s room leaps from the shadows and slams the window shut on the gunmans arm. The gun fires but hits 21s saviour in the leg it is instructor Bill Weight. 21 wakes from his drugged sleep and Weight says he felt responsible for him being in sickbay so had decided to watch over the agent. The would-be killer has gone so a guard is placed on 21s room for the rest of the night. The next two weeks pass without incident and space flight tests are next on the agenda. 21 is sure there will be another attempt to kill him so tricks his three man crew into reporting to flight control while he blasts off in the USS vertical take off rocket Test 1 alone. He proceeds to put the old style space capsule through her two orbits of Mars before returning to base but as 21 fires the retros for re-entry the instrument panel blows and the Test 1 Nose Cone goes out of control heading on a collision course with a passenger Space Station in orbit over the Red Planet...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 84, dateline 27 August 1966
21 ejects from his capsule Test 1 wearing a space suit and the space station destroys the nose cone with an interceptor missile. The space station launches its Rescue Unit B7 within minutes to look for 21 but the violent shockwaves of the explosion have sent the USS agent spinning through space from the impact area. 21 thinks back over the attempts that have been made on his life since he arrived at the Spy School but cant decide who the traitor is. Then he realises that only three men know which new field agents graduate from the school having passed all of their tests. S, Chief Instructor Gregson and Doctor Guild and Dr Guild is the only man who knows which agents become field agents as opposed to administrative based on their medical grading. Dr Guild must be the traitor but 21 is going to die drifting in space before he can do anything about it...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 85, dateline 03 September 1966
21 decides to write down his suspicions on his space suits note pad. The Space Station Rescue Vehicle B7 continues searching for 21 but without luck. The Space Stations officers suddenly see a fleet of over 600 small space ships on their astrascope leaving Mars every private space craft on the Red Planet has joined the search for the missing agent which has made top TV news. The space station organises the rescue ships. S instructs his secretary Miss Berwick to bring him a short-wave radio tuned into Rescue Control so he can keep up to date with the rescue operation. Some hours later a one man space ship PSC 194 sights 21s space suit but the suit is empty and the space pad has been torn from its arm. S calls for a car and instructs all senior special agents to meet him at the Spy School. Within minutes twenty official hovercars are speeding towards the Spy School where all the staff have been paraded for a role call all except Doctor Guild. S realises Guild must be the traitor
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 86, dateline 10 September 1966
S calls for a list of every space craft to have left Mars in the last 2 hours and for all operational agents to concentrate their efforts on searching Mars just in case Guild has gone into hiding. Space Traffic Control concentrates on preparing a list of space craft that did not return to Mars after the search. Meanwhile 21 wakes up and finds himself in darkness he is in a coffin and fears he is going to be buried alive. The USS agent calls out only to have Dr Guild open the coffin. 21 questions how Guild found him floating in space and the doctor explains that the agents pre-flight meal had contained a micro radio transmitter just in case. Guild punches 21 unconscious again before returning to the controls of his small rocket cargo ship, which is on its way to Venus. Meanwhile S is informed that only one spaceship headed away from Mars after the rescue but Space Traffic Control have lost it in a meteorite storm. S orders all trainee agents at the Spy School to draw a deadly toy sample case and deploy all over the universe - 21 must be found. Jackson is sent to Earth, Peter to Eros, Smith to Saturn, Klowski to Mercury and Jack Reed to Venus
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 87, dateline 17 September 1966
Trainee USS agent Jack Reed arrives on Venus to begin his search for 21. He hires a hovercar and starts to check the high class houses in the city suburbs surmising that if the gang is on Venus the leader will be rich and live in a big house near the city. Reed uses the deadly toy bloodhound to check each house while he monitors progress on the screen in the lid of his sample case. At one house the bloodhound gets a reaction that looks interesting but before Reed can investigate a gun is thrust through the open canopy of his hovercar aqnd he is ordered to get out of his vehicle before he is blown in half. Reed appears to check his watch but switches to remote control and orders his deadly toy archers out of his sample case to shoot the gunman. Two other guards see the man drop and Reed leaps back into his car and drives off. They fire at the receding car but are too late to stop the trainee agent. In the big house Guild and another man watch 21 floating in a space simulation chamber on a telescreen they are trying to break him. Guild goes off to find out what the gunfire is all about. He returns a few minutes later and orders the man at the telescreen to pack up everything now. He has found the deadly toy bloodhound and knows the USS are onto them. He orders the man to kill 21...
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 88, dateline 24 September 1966
Guilds partner says he will have to rebuild the pressure in the space simulator to go in and kill 21. Guild changes his mind and orders his partner to leave 21 he will be out of oxygen in 10 minutes anyway. Minutes later the two enemy agents are driving away from the Venusian Mansion. Jack Reed sees them go from the cover of Venusian foliage that grows along the roadside. He launches a deadly toy solar flash jet plane to keep track of Guilds car while he goes into the house and rescues 21 from the space simulator. 21 and Reed now give chase in Reeds car and discover the 2 enemy agents are heading into the city centre in fact to the headquarters of the Venusian Secret Service at Government House. Guild must have friends in high places. 21 and Reed enter the building and are shown to the Service Heads office where they find the dead body of Guild and his colleague the secret service chief has flown. Reed finds a piece of torn black material which 21 recognises as part of a SOFRAM Leaders cloak. 21 finds a secret door behind a book case which leads to a air pressure tube down to an underground car park. They see a car speeding up a ramp out of the car park. 21 and Reed borrow one of the cars and follow the SOFRAM Leader...
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 89, dateline 01 October 1966
21 and Reed leave the Government Building car park and Jack wonder which way to go left or right? 21 knows that left leads only to the Monster Lakes so right it is. The two USS agents reach the edge of the city and Reed spots the SOFRAM leaders abandoned hovercar near a signpost which reads Danger Poisonous Quick Sands. They see the SOFRAM Leader heading over the quick sands on a hover bike into the forest beyond. They cant follow on foot but Reed has his sample case so 21 takes out a rocket launcher and fires a deadly toy missile into the forest on the other side of the quick sand with a line attached. The missile lodges in a treetop and the two USS agents haul themselves along the line over the quick sand and into the branches of the tree. They now move from tree to tree until they reach a clearing and see a spaceship hovering waiting for the approaching SOFRAM Leader. 21 selects a deadly toy Zeus Tank from Reeds sample case to try and stop the SOFRAM Leader escaping but the space ship defends the Leader with a barrage of missiles. 21 takes a deadly toy Solar Flash jet plane and launches it at the SOFRAM space ship. The Solar Flash is full of high explosive and destroys its target and the approaching SOFRAM Leader in a highly focussed explosion. 21 and Reed manage to hold onto the strong Venusian tree as the blast sweeps the forest. Back at USS HQ, Kahra, Mars, 21 and Reed report back to S. 21 askes if Reed can replace Tina as his assistant. S agrees and promotes Reed to Senior Special Agent 72 telling him he will now be hunted by criminals and spies. Reed says it is all part of the best job a guy could want.
The passenger space station orbiting Mars looks like Thunderbird 5 in part 4 but looked quite different when first seen in the final panel of part 3.
I think Jack Reed looks like an adult version of Joe 90.
Story Nine (aka Deadly Fly*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 90, dateline 08 October 1966
A small fly sits on a lump of sugar. The insect launches itself into the air and flies towards four tailors dummies dressed as soldiers. Suddenly the fly fires a disintegrator ray from its facetted eyes completely destroying the dummies. The fly now heads for an army tank nearby and fires its ray again destroying the tank. The fly is a USS deadly fly and this is a test being carried out by 21 with S, Jack Reed and two World Security Generals observing the results. One of the Generals congratulates 21 on his new invention and asks the USS agent what use he has planned for it. 21 says the deadly fly will be used to patrol the World Senate Building. It can be programmed with images of enemy assassins and will attack and destroy them on sight. S says six will be manufactured and installed in the Senate Building, Unity City. A few weeks later 21 and Reed release the six deadly flies. They patrol the corridors, restaurants, Presidents office and filing department. Unfortunately there is a cat in the filing department, which pounces on the deadly fly the sudden jolt wipes clean the flys computer memory cells. A few hours later the World President is talking to a Commander at Space City about the forthcoming visit by the Neptune Delegation on the videophone. The damaged deadly fly receives the video picture of the WP and files it away in its computer memory cells. The World President is now on the flys death list...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 91, dateline 15 October 1966
The Saturnian Delegates arrive in Unity City for the forthcoming Solar Defence Meeting - top men from all the planets of the Solar System will be there. 21 and Jack Reed are at the World Senate Building carrying out routine security checks of the deadly flies. One of the six deadly flies does not respond to their check signals. Meanwhile a helijet approaches the World Senate Building with the delegates of the Solar Defence Organisation and the world watches the event on television. The television image of the Saturn Delegates entering the World Senate Building are picked up by the damaged deadly fly and stored away in its computer memory cells. They have now been added to the flys death list too. 21 and Jack Reed (who is holding the deadly fly control box) accompany the Saturnian Delegates into the building. Reed detects the damaged fly approaching and the impulse counter on the control box indicates it is about to fire its disintegrator ray at them. 21 pushes the delegates roughly into a side office and slams the door closed behind them - leaving Reed out in the corridor with the control box. The USS agent quickly uses a videophone to contact security ordering them to place the building under marshal law quoting section 2 of Senate Order 5/49/11 Action in Defence of World Peace. All doors and windows are to be closed. No one is to be allowed in or out. The deadly fly picks up the videophone transmission - 21s image is now added to the flys death list...
Strip becomes 21 Secret Agent
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 92, dateline 22 October 1966
21 enters an adjoining office through a side door and looks out into the corridor from there. He sees Reed slumped on the corridor floor nursing a wrenched arm.. Reed warns him that the deadly fly is still in the corridor waiting and points to it sitting on the doorjamb of the office 21 pushed the delegates into. The USS agent draws his ray gun and steps out into the corridor but he is too slow to hit the fly. Reed still has the control box and warns 21 of a power build up it is getting ready to attack. 21 throws himself back into the office where the delegates are hiding only just in time to avoid the flys disintegrator ray. The office phone buzzes and 21 answers it it is the World President asking him why he has called a state of emergency. 21 explains and informs the WP that he intends to get his sample case to set his deadly toys against the fly but his sample case is in an office 30 floors above. The USS agent intends to climb up the outside of the World Senate Building but one of the Saturnian Delegates offers to fetch the sample case by going out into the corridor as it is too risky to climb 30 floors on the outside of the building. He doesnt see how the deadly fly can have his image filed in its computer memory but the fly does. It filed away the images of all the Saturnian Delegates from a television broadcast of their arrival at the Senate Building. The delegate is disintegrated. 21 realises that he has no choice he must climb up the outside of the building to fetch his sample case...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 93, dateline 29 October 1966
21 climbs out of the window he is 40 floors up and has to climb another 30 to reach the office with his sample case of deadly toys to combat the deadly fly. 21 removes his belt and then unclips the buckle which incorporates miniature rockets which is attached to a long leather rope coiled up within the belt itself. The USS agent launches the buckle, which snakes up the World Senate Building to embed itself into a window frame on the 70th floor. 21 now tests the leather rope is firmly anchored and begins his long arduous climb up the side of the building. He eventually swings into his office and grabs his sample case. 21 takes the high speed lift back down to the 40th floor and enters the corridor where the deadly fly lies in wait. Reed is still there clutching the control box and nursing his sprained arm. 21 has programmed another deadly fly to attack the damaged one. The two deadly flies meet and one of them fires its disintegrator ray destroying the other but it is the damaged fly that has survived. Reeds control box registers a power build up as the damaged fly prepares to attack 21. Reed dives at the fly, swatting it, before it can fire - the deadly fly is finally destroyed. 21 congratulates him on saving his life again. Now comes the hard part the official enquiry as to how the deadly fly became defective.
Daft story. Why make such a destructive deadly fly that can be so easily damaged and destroyed by a good swat. I would imagine the use of deadly flies as security guards was discontinued forthwith.
The deadly fly is damaged surprisingly easily for such a deadly weapon.
The deadly fly surely cannot be classed as a deadly toy although it is occasionally referred to as such in this story.
The disintegrator ray incorporated in the deadly fly is unbelievably powerful.
This story suggests the deadly fly is 21s invention.
The WP would appear to be a young looking Nikita Bandranaik.
The Commander at Space City does not appear to be Commander Zero presumably it is his predecessor (i.e. - his epaulets are different to Zeros. They only sit on his shoulders and do not extend down his back).
Oops - The Neptune Delegation has mysteriously become the Saturn Delegation between Parts 1 & 2 of this story.
Presumably Reed fell and sprained his arm in the corridor when 21 pushed the Saturnian Delegates into the office to avoid the deadly flys attack.
The World Senate Building has at least 70 stories.
The strip title changes from 21 Special Agent to 21 Secret Agent with part 3. A new vertical logo comes with the change of title.
Story Ten (aka An Eye For An Eye*)
Writer: Tod Sullivan (?). Artist: Rab Hamilton. 2 pages, b/w.
Part 1: TV Century 21 Issue 94, dateline 05 November 1966
22nd November 2047. The construction of Space City as HQ for the newly formed World Space Patrol continues. The first section completed is the Planetary Defence Centre. The huge tolenium and cement underground bunkers house Earths first line of defence, the most deadly rockets ever built by man Planatomic missiles. A SOFRAM raiding party makes a daring moonlight attack on the bunkers. Gas is used to knockout the WSP guards and then helijets fly in to airlift four planatomic missiles to a sleek submarine anchored off the shore of Space City Island. The SOFRAM Leader orders his men to hurry knowing that automatic alarms will have sounded on the mainland. SOFRAM only just manage to get the planatomic missiles loaded into their sub before WASP fighter jets fly in low to attack. The Leader orders cash dive and the SOFRAM sub escapes. Marineville reports the raid to the World Security Council HQ at Washington. The WASPs nearest warship is 2 hours away from Space City Island so there is no chance of catching the enemy sub. Suddenly the World President receives a call on the videophone it is from the Head of SOFRAM. He demands that USS agent 21 is handed over to SOFRAM and that the Universal Secret Service is disbanded and their records destroyed. If these demands are not met London will be destroyed in 23 hours. Within hours Government Troops on Mars rouse 21 from his bed at gunpoint they tell him he is being taken to the Space Port. The Captain of the Troops informs 21 that he will be handed over to SOFRAM at the orders of the World President. The captive 21 is driven past Century 21 Toys Incorporated, the HQ of the USS, on the way to Kahra Space Port and sees the factory buildings ablaze...
Part 2: TV Century 21 Issue 95, dateline 12 November 1966
21 is taken to the World Security Council HQ in Washington where a meeting is in progress chaired by the World President with heads of all the World Security sections present including S. The situation is explained to 21 who says he would like a chance to track the SOFRAM sub down. The WP says he cannot risk 21 not being back for handover to SOFRAM on time if he is unsuccessful but he would be happy for someone else to carry out 21s plan. S tells 21 that Jack Reed is still under his command and is here in World Security HQ waiting for him. 21 wastes no time in contacting his assistant and discusses his plan to track the enemy sub with Reed. He is certain that the SOFRAM sub will launch its planatomic missile at London from the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver, Canada because they only have a range of 7000 miles. 21 orders Reed to take an atom jet to the new WASP base in California called Marineville. He wants Reed to use the sub called Inner Space 1, which is a floating test bed for the new Stingray engines. Inner Space 1 has a speed of 600 knots so will be able to reach the Vancouver coastline in time to find the SOFRAM sub. Meanwhile the SOFRAM sub moves towards its destination. The SOFRAM Leader orders the warheads to be primed so that if anyone attacks their sub the missiles will detonate and destroy the world...
Part 3: TV Century 21 Issue 96, dateline 19 November 1966
Jack Reed searches for the SOFRAM submarine in Inner Space 1 (the test bed sub for the new Stingray engines) off the coast of Vancouver, Canada. Reed is in contact with 21 who awaits his fate in the World Security Building in Washington. World Security Guards come to take him to New York by car for the handover to SOFRAM. S feels helpless but the World President says they cannot risk SOFRAM blasting London with the stolen planatomic missile. Only ten minutes to go before handover and Reed spots the SOFRAM sub. He informs 21 that he intends to ram the enemy sub but 21 warns him the planatomic missiles will be primed. If all four explode together the world could be destroyed. He orders Reed to clamp a deadly toy spinning top to the SOFRAM subs hull fitted with a knockout gas drill. Reed takes the top from his sample case, dons a wet suit and swims across unnoticed to the enemy craft. Meanwhile on the outskirts of New York a SOFRAM Leader with a squad of troopers wait for 21 to be handed over to them...
Part 4: TV Century 21 Issue 97, dateline 26 November 1966
A small party of World Security Guards escort 21 to the outskirts of New York where he is to be handed over to SOFRAM. The USS agent wonders what is taking his assistant so long. Meanwhile Reed is using a deadly toy spinning top to cut through the hull of the SOFRAM sub but it is taking longer than expected. The SOFRAM sub crew can hear something scratching on the hull
21s time has run out but as he is handed over the Captain of the World Security Guards receives a message over the car radio Reed has succeeded in knocking out the SOFRAM sub crew!. The Captain and his men jump into their car and speed towards the SOFRAM unit leading 21 away. The Captain shouts Run, 21! Reeds done it!
21 is like an uncoiled spring. He downs two SOFRAM troopers with a double punch and then runs for safety but is cut down in a hail of bullets fired by the fleeing SOFRAM troops. The SOFRAM Leader reaches his car nearby and orders his forces to retake the sub, He wants the Planatomic Missiles. SOFRAM submarines and aircraft carriers are launched from a hidden base along the coast but the World Aquanaut Security Patrol have also been alerted and their warships approach the sub area from the opposite direction...
Part 5: TV Century 21 Issue 98, dateline 03 December 1966
21 surprises the World Security Captain when he rises to his feet still very much alive only very bruised. He is wearing a bullet proof vest beneath his jacket. 21 calls for a fighter-bomber to be put on standby for him he must be on hand when the World Navy reaches the SOFRAM sub. He knows he only has an hour before the knockout gas used by Reed on its crew wears off. 21 spots the SOFRAM fleet moving in as he flies his plane towards the SOFRAM sub. He contacts Admiral Beatty of the World Navy and informs him of their position. World Navy warships close in on the SOFRAM fleet but the enemy strikes first by launching jet fighters from its aircraft carriers. The struggle for the sleeping sub begins and the Pacific Ocean becomes a bitter battlefield. SOFRAM detect the whole WASP fleet approaching to join the World Navy ships. The SOFRAM Leader orders a retreat. 21 lands his jet fighter on a WASP aircraft carrier fifteen minutes before the SOFRAM submarine crew are due to wake up. He joins a team of WASP missile experts in a World Navy Bathyscaphe, which is then lowered into the sea above the SOFRAM submarine. The Bathyscaphe clamps itself onto the side of the enemy vessel and within minutes a hole is cut in its hull allowing 21 and the WASP missile experts to board her and capture its crew. 21 orders the WASP experts to disarm the planatomic missiles while he holds the still dazed SOFRAM Leader at gunpoint. Three hours later at the World Security Council HQ, Washington, 21 and Reed meet with the World President and S. S informs them that rebuilding of the Century 21 Toys Factory has begun with an extra office for 21. 21 hopes this doesnt mean he has to take a desk job. The WP says the desk job comes after his next assignment which is to keep the SOFRAM Leader alive until the World Government Investigation Committee meets. Reed realises that will be a difficult task as every SOFRAM agent will be gunning for the Leader to stop him talking...
Part 6: TV Century 21 Issue 99, dateline 10 December 1966
The captured SOFRAM Leader is being temporarily held at World Army Camp David in Canada. 21 and Reed arrive at the Camp David with orders to take him to Washington for questioning. 21 knows that if the Leader will talk SOFRAM can be smashed for good but transferring him to Washington will not be easy. SOFRAM agents will do all they can to stop him reaching Washington. Two hooded SOFRAM Leaders head a large force of SOFRAM troop waiting near Camp David with orders to stop the captured Leader reaching Washington. 21 decides to move out of Camp David at midnight under protection of a convoy comprising 3 tanks, 4 cars and an armoured truck. 21 and Reed are in one of the cars with their prisoner. The SOFRAM Leader is confident he will be rescued. Suddenly the SOFRAM forces attack the convoy with heavy artillery and bazooka fire. One of the World Army tanks is destroyed. The remaining tanks fires back with devastating effect. Suddenly 21s car is hit and then hit again. 21 loses control and the car smashes into a tree on the roadside before turning over. The USS agent has given strict orders that the convoy must not stop no matter what happens and so the wrecked car is soon left far behind as the running battle continues...
Part 7: TV Century 21 Issue 100, dateline 17 December 1966
21, Reed and their captive SOFRAM Leader hang upside down in their overturned car the running battle having left them far behind. 21 decides it is clear to make a break for it. They have an hour or two before SOFRAM realise they are no longer with the convoy. The tree men move through the moonlit snow covered hills on foot. The captive SOFRAM Leader asks if they intend walking to Washington. 21 tells him they will catch the overnight bus it is due on Highway 14 at 2.00 am and Highway 14 is less than half an hours walk from their current position. Sometime later the overnight bus had arrived in a small Canadian town called Cragsville where it connects with the Trans-American Monorail. 21 and his party board a goods train, which has been specially prepared for the USS agent to take them to Washington. It is computer controlled and heads south at over 200 miles per hour but SOFRAM forces are prepared to block all routes to Washington from the Camp David region of Canada in case 21 and his captive are not with the convoy. A squad of SOFRAM troopers under the direct command of a hooded Leader blow up the Trans-American monorail supports that carry the track along the edge of a lake. The monotrains computer is warned and emergency retro brakes fire stopping the train just in time. 21 and Reed see SOFRAM troopers using jetpacks fly up from the woods below to search the train. 21 decides to uncouple the monotrain from its coaches. He switches it to manual control and accelerates towards the break in the track - launching the monotrain into the air
Part 8: TV Century 21 Issue 101, dateline 24 December 2066
The monotrain flies off the end of the track and lands on the edge of the lake. The SOFRAM Leader and his troops see 21, Reed and their captive run from the wrecked train and head for the snow covered woods. The Leader (using the code name Red Leader) radios the SOFRAM Wolf Pack still pursuing the decoy convoy and orders them to return to checkpoint. In the woods Reed steps into a bear trap and falls in agony. The SOFRAM captive makes a brake for it as 21 turns to help Reed. 21 makes a flying leap for the Leader only for the two men to roll down a slope into a snowy clearing below. The SOFRAM captive grabs a fallen branch and knocks 21 unconscious with a vicious blow to the back of the USS agents head. He stands over 21 in triumph and sees SOFRAM troops approaching. He orders them to take the USS agent captive but the troopers have been ordered to kill the captive SOFRAM Leader. They raise their guns
Part 9: TV Century 21 Issue 102, dateline 31 December 2066
Suddenly a knockout gas bomb explodes at the feet of the SOFRAM soldiers and they fall unconscious. The captive Leader also succumbs and falls. Jack Reed has hurled the gas bomb from the snow-covered ledge above. He radios the convoy and lets them know his position before blasting the chain holding the bear trap with his gun - but the trap is still clamped agonisingly to his leg. Reed knows he only has 10 minutes to rescue 21 and the captive SOFRAM Leader from the SOFRAM troops. He crawls down to the clearing and manages to drag both the unconscious men up to the ledge. 21 comes around and Reed informs him he has been able to contact the convoy but time has run out for them. The SOFRAM troops have recovered too and can see Reeds tracks in the snow. Reed shoots one of them but the SOFRAM troops retaliate with mortar fire. The first shell bursts and causes an avalanche on the snow covered hillside behind the USS agents and their captive
Part 10: TV Century 21 Issue 103, dateline 07 January 2067
The avalanche of snow rolls down the hillside and smashes into the SOFRAM troops below. 21, Reed and the captive Leader are stunned but alive the avalanche did not reach full force until it had passed over them on the ledge above the SOFRAM forces. Reed sees the World Army convoy approaching. The convoy commander says that 21 must have more lives than a cat to which the agent replies: I wouldnt let a dog lead my life, Commander.
A helijet lands to take the USS agents and their prisoner to Washington but one of the SOFRAM troopers struck by the avalanche has survived and he radios a warning to the nearby Red Leader. SOFRAM now know the helijets estimated course. They have heavy artillery moved into position and as soon as the helijet flies within range a barrage of fire illuminates the sky around it. The helijet miraculously survives the barrage but a solitary snipers bullet finds its mark and the helijets starboard engine explodes. The helijet plunges towards the ground completely out of control...
Part 11: TV Century 21 Issue 104, dateline 14 January 2067
The pilot radios a Mayday message while 21, Reed and their SOFRAM prisoner put on parachutes. The four men manage to jump from the helijet only seconds before it crashes into the countryside below. 21, Reed and the pilot land safely but their captive finds himself up to his waist sinking in quicksand. 21 uses his special belt and fires the rocket powered buckle at the sinking SOFRAM Leader. The man grabs the line and 21 pulls him to safety. A World Security helicopter lands nearby and takes 21 and his party to a deserted airfield near Washington. They are met by a squad of World Security troops who are to escort them to the World Government Headquarters in a jeep. 21 recognises a tattoo on the back of one of the officers hands as they drive away from the airfield it is an old SOFRAM insignia. He grabs the captive SOFRAM Leader and leaps from the jeep shouting a warning to Reed to jump. The false World Security troops open fire. The SOFRAM Leader sees one man aiming at 21 and throws himself into the line of fire shielding him. The USS agents shoot the disguised SOFRAM troops and then 21 kneels down beside his fatally wounded prisoner. The SOFRAM leader says he didnt do it to save 21s life he did it for SOFRAM so their secrets will die with him. Later 21 and Reed are reprimanded in Washington for failing in their mission to deliver the SOFRAM Leader for questioning. Reed thinks they did not deserve to be grilled like that but 21 says failure is never acceptable.
TV2000 - issues 33/1967 to 38/1967 (as Geheim Agent 2000 Parts 6 to 11 only)
Planatomic missiles were first mentioned in the Fireball XL5 pilot episode Planet 46.
This story again confirms the Secret Agent 21 strips take place in the Anderson Universe, and that the World Space Patrol has only just been formed in 2047.
Presumably work on constructing Marineville is further advanced than at Space City by November 2047 as the WASP airfield seems to be operational in this story.
We learn that Marineville is in California, and see a part-built Marineville Control Tower.
Inner Space 1 is stored in Pen 3 and launched through the Ocean Door as seen in every episode of Stingray.
Presumably SOFRAMs hidden coastal base is on the eastern coast of Canada somewhere to the north of Vancouver.
There is some confusion as to whether it is the WASPs or the World Navy (or both) combating the SOFRAM fleet.
Admiral Beatty is Head of the World Navy in 2066.
The snow covering the Canadian hills in Part 9 is referred to as the weak spring snowline.
TV Century 21 Summer Extra
21 Special Agent (aka Blood Over Unity City*)
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Jon Davis. Four pages, b/w.
USS Agent 17 runs from a squad of SOFRAM troopers on a small farm in the Italian Apennines. He tries to radio a warning to Rome HQ but is shot dead before he can complete his message. The radio operator in Rome passes on the broken message to his commanding officer: SOFRAM after Pres
whatever that means.
The message is passed onto S on Mars. The USS Chief immediately calls 21 and orders him to go to Unity City and guard the World President from a SOFRAM assassination attempt. 21 suspects SOFRAMs target could be President Galit who is making a State visit to Earth on Friday. The USS agent is with the WP at Unity City Space Port to receive President Galit. Two hooded SOFRAM Leaders watch the events at the Space Port on a video screen from an undisclosed location. A large cargo plane suddenly flies in and hovers over the Presidential Car into which the WP and President Galit have just climbed.
It lowers two magnetic clamps towards the car and drops a gas canister amidst the security forces. The World Security Guards open fire at the plane but the billowing gas cloud soon knocks them unconscious along with the two presidents. 21 quickly opens his sample case and selects what looks like a childs mask clamping it over his face before the gas cloud reaches him. The mask looks like a toy but is an effective gas filter. The USS agent now leaps for the Presidential Car which is being lifted up into the hovering plane by the magnetic clamps both the WP and President Galit are being kidnapped by SOFRAM. The two hooded SOFRAM Leaders are still watching their video screen. The one Leader congratulates the other on a brilliant plan and asks him if he thinks the ransom will be paid. The other Leader reminds him that there will be space war if President Galit is not returned alive. The ransom is a million pounds weight in gold. The Presidential car has now been lifted into the cargo hold of the hovering plane. SOFRAM troops approach the car to remove their hostages but are surprised to see 21 in the car before they are knocked out by the USS agents deadly toy archers lined up on the back of the drivers seat. 21 now throws the two unconscious presidents over his shoulders and heads for the forward section of the plane. He heard one of the SOFRAM troopers say the cargo hold would be ejected in four minutes and doesnt want to be around when it is. He reaches the control cabin door and surprises a SOFRAM trooper. He throws the unconscious WP into the trooper so that he can draw his gun. The SOFRAM trooper orders the planes pilot to eject the rear body but it is too late to stop 21 entering the control cabin, lowering President Galit and shooting the pilot with his stun gun. 21 now grabs the controls as the forward section of the plane separates from the rear cargo body. A few minutes later he lands the forward section at Unity City Space Port and the two hostages are taken away to safety. The rest of President Galits State Visit to Earth passes quietly. S gives 21 a model of the forward section of the SOFRAM plane as a momentum of a good case. On the top floor of a New York skyscraper SOFRAM Leaders meet and decide the prime directive of the Solar Organisation For Revenge And Murder is now to hunt down and destroy 21.
Thunderbirds Extra 2 (as Special Agent 2000, Holland 1967)
The strip is simply titled 21 Special Agent,
Presumably the small farm in the Italian Apennines is the cover for a SOFRAM base.
We are not told what planet President Galit comes from - he looks human though except for his dark glasses (or is it a visor?).
Jon Daviss drawing of the World President makes him look more like S than Nikita Bandranaik.
Neither Tina nor Jack Reed appear in this story so it could take place between Stories Seven and Eight.
A text feature about the World Government and Space Empire in the Summer Extra states that the Universal Secret Service is responsible to the World Security Council (along with the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, the World Navy, the World Army/Air Force and the World Space Patrol).
*These stories were originally untitled and are titled here for reference only.
Biography - Tina
Tina Palamac was born in Austria in 2020 of Mexican parentage - her father was Senor Carlos Palamac, the Mexican consulate to the United European Community.
In the Great Atomic War of 2028 both Tina's parents were killed and she was put in the care of the United Nations Children's Organisation and brought up at their home in Athens, Greece. She qualified from Corfu University with degrees in computer mechanics, engineering and dressmaking and went to work for Universal Engineering Incorporated, the giant engineering company.
Tina transferred to the design section following an 18-month stint in the computer laboratories and began work on the new atomic engines for UEI's Fireflash airliner. It was one of her designs that laid the basis for the final break-through on the engine. Tina was sent to Australia to witness the first flight tests, only to be kidnapped from her Sydney hotel by Bereznik agents and smuggled back to Katania (the capital city of Bereznik) where they attempted to force her to disclose the secrets of the new Fireflash. UEI informed the Universal Secret Service who sent Senior Special Agent 21 to rescue her.
In a daring midnight raid 21 and four other agents parachuted into Bereznik, scaled the walls of her prison, released Tina and escaped across country to the coast and freedom.
She returned to the UEI and started research into remote controlled robots only to be approached by the USS who wanted her to become chief designer at their new Century 21 Toys Incorporated HQ. Tina accepted and soon renewed her acquaintance with 21 who asked her to design and build deadly toys for his personal use.
She miniaturised his initially awkward control units and incorporated them in the toys sample case. Tina was now sent on a mission with 21 to help operate the deadly toys and train him in their use.
From then on she decided on a more active role in the USS. She worked on many missions and was promoted to Senior Special Agent 23.
Among her most successful deadly toy designs were the bloodhound, the exploding doll and the rocket launcher.
Tina's career came to an end in 2047 when she sacrificed her own life to save 21 from a Bereznik assassination squad.
Unfortunately Tinas biography gives the date of her death as 2046 in error it occurred in 2047 as per the strip.
(Abridged from the TV Century 21 annual ©1966)
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History would like to thank:
and Paul Winsum
- for their help with this feature.
Version 1.1 - 01.09.05
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