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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: Clarion Call UFO
"Clarion Call"

Countdown #2-6, February 27, 1971-March 27, 1971
Writer: Unknown (possibly Alan Fennell)
Art: Gerry Haylock

 

A reporter for a British newspaper publishes evidence of SHADO's existence.

 

Read the story summary at Technodelic

 

DIDJA KNOW?

 

This story is actually untitled. I've chosen to apply the title "Clarion Call" to identify it in the chronology.

 

On the Technodelic website, their feature on the history of the UFO comic strips in Countdown magazine speculates that Alan Fennell may have been the author of this story.

 

NOTES FROM THE UFO CHRONOLOGY

 

At the end of this story, the amnesia drug is used on both Johns and Mason to make them forget their knowledge of aliens and SHADO. For that reason, I've chosen to place this story some time after the events of "The Dalotek Affair", in which the amnesia drug was first introduced to viewers.

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

A newspaper called The Clarion breaks the news in England about the existence of a secret government organization called SHADO. The Clarion appears to be a fictional newspaper, although there was a socialist newspaper in England by the same name from 1891-1931. 

 

The alien here wears a Type 2 spacesuit. But notice that the metallic module that normally appears on the left breast of all alien spacesuits is missing. In addition, the helmet also appears to be of the Type 1 variety, with the smaller faceplate. This mismatch of the spacesuits continues to occur in various stories presented in Countdown.

 

Johns hides the alien body in Robbicombe Cave along the coast. This is a fictional cave as far as I can tell.

 

On pages 5-6 of the story, the salvage boat appears to use a magnetic grapple to haul the crashed UFO from the sea floor.

 

After interrogation by Freeman, Johns admits he told the reporter Mason about the alien and that Mason then said he had a contact named Spencer who could get him into a secret organization that dealt with UFO incursions. As a seasoned reporter, Mason would not have so carelessly given away his contact's name. Doing so, Mason winds up sabotaging his own story, as we see at the end.

 

The alien shoots Spencer with an alien rifle at the SHADO HQ. But where did the gun come from? The alien did not seem to have it on him when he was dragged out of the sea by Johns! Was it hidden on his person somehow? Did SHADO have a captured weapon in their possession that the alien took from a storage room? 

 

On pages 9-10 of the story, Straker examines Spencer's dead body and comments on the burn marks on it as those left by an alien ray gun. But in the TV episodes, the alien rifles are seen to shoot projectiles similar to bullets, not rays.

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

How did the alien know where SHADO HQ was located? It's possible they learned of it from previous spies they had within the organization, such as Roper in "The Dalotek Affair".

 

Does the amnesia drug allow SHADO to also implant false memories? After all, they can't undo the already published article about the conjectured existence of SHADO, so wouldn't Mason need to have a cover memory of how he got the initial information and a reason to not follow up on it any further?

 

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